We had wondered how long
December’s remarkably mild beginning
We know now:
give or take.
Leaving church just before noon
on the ninth day,
we felt the wind coming from the north,
the beginning of a hard change
that would be below freezing by mid-afternoon.
In late afternoon, we moved the horses
into the small lot by the shed,
the only place where they would have
some shelter from the wind.
Then, we walked back toward the house,
into the sending cut,
to finish moving the outdoor pots
into a place
where they might make it through the winter
without splintering from the freeze.
It would have been easier
in last week’s warmth,
but would have lacked the urgency
of a single-digit wind chill
and the long, lean edge
of a slate gray cloud bank
blanking out the setting sun beyond the hills.