> jumping into life.

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Hard rain scours away the snow, leaving the fields sodden and stripped. What doesn't melt entirely turns to ice overnight. The chickens scurry outside to stretch their legs and wings; they do not like snow, which covers up the compost pile and chills their feet. The deep bed of straw in their coop has reached nearly a foot deep. With a quarter-bale added every few days, it'll be deeper before the true thaw comes.

After going to California for Christmas, I went with J to Florida to visit family there. I'll be returning to California next week to mark and grieve my grandma's death. I feel as though I'm missing winter, though I'm sure there will be plenty of it left on the other side of February; still, I miss the feeling of hunkering down, burrowing in, of settling the body and mind for the long, dark cold. Bitter though it may be, I've come to love winter. And lovely as it may be to swim in the ocean in January - grateful as I am for the opportunity to do so, and to see all our far-flung relatives - I would almost rather stay home, wrapped in a wool blanket, sipping my tea.