These cold and brutal days wear thin on a person.  Too cold for walking the dogs, too cold to snow shoe, too cold really for anything.  Except this, coffee cup in hand bare knees burning from the fire, dog snout on the stones beside my feet.  Contemplation.

Not a shred of dignity left in me.  The things I do.  Seeking for a closure I will never find.

I watch from the window as my dear sweet wonderful man plows the driveway before he leaves for work, I had trouble getting out a couple days earlier, I told him I couldn’t see over the bank either, and he is diligently banging at it with a shovel, and warming my car, brushing it off for me before I head for home.

While Boston complains of its snow, we have gotten slightly more.  And the brutal cold wind chills make even a woodstove warmed house feel cold.  I get home anxious to paint, the most prolific artistic period for me since the years following college, before the birth of my daughter.  I spend over an hour first snow blowing my driveway, unsticking my neighbor’s car from hers, with the help of a city plow spotter, who threw sand and salt under her wheels as her grandson and I pushed her into the street.  I snow blow her out, and the neighbor to the other side.  My upper arms ache, and my left knee.  I smile as I gently rub my shoulders.

My bones ache as the door to the back creaks and closes slowly enough for the old man to sneak inside.  The pup quick and slick as a seal slides in too.  I get in bed pulling up the covers to my chest as I prop my ipad on my knees.  My skin is dry, it feels crisp and chapped and itchy.  The pup sticks her nose under the covers she cuddles her body against mine, and gives a quick kiss to my toes.

We are where we are, exactly as the universe has intended.  We bang our heads against brick walls again and again, exactly as long as we are meant to.

I think of this man, man, rough calloused hands, so gentle.  And his son, whom I am trying to pry from the shell of protection he has wrapped around himself.  The love I feel for him and his family.  But beyond this the love I have for myself.

I archive my work, from high school to present.  I look at it again and again.  I see how angry I was when I was married.  I am nodding my head.  Angry and depressed.  How closed and sporadic I was with the pirate.  Small art of surrender and transformation.  And now the work is realistic, a love story with nature, with birds, with flowers, with trees, with dogs, and ladybugs, and…..I look through photos taken over the years, the beauty of the work, transformed into paint, the love story with myself.

And all this in the five minutes I have with burning knees by the fire, nightshirt and ancient long blue sweater, bare feet, dog snout, coffee.

Empty of peace.  Full of peace.