The View from Mattie’s Pillow

Here on the Ridge, it’s thirty below zero. Down in the valley, it hovers between forty and fifty below and the ice fog sits thick along the roads, riverbanks, neighborhoods.

This fall, with the high oil prices, people who hadn’t used their wood stoves in years dusted them off, went out to the wood cutting areas, and began burning unseasoned wood. We were lucky enough to have had several large spruce trees fall in the last couple of years and were able to harvest a downed birch and buy some two-year old birch logs over the summer. But in some areas, the extra smoke and water vapor released  from burning green wood or coal has been hanging in the air for months. Now that we’re in a period of deep cold, this smoke and vapor hangs frozen into ice fog–hard on living beings.

We are in the last days of the winter break between semesters. We’re down to one working car, but we’re holed up in our living room, dozy as hibernating bears, stoking the wood stove, watching the Christmas tree lights flicker, watching the skyline pale from orange to watery green to dusky blue. For a few weeks, as we begin the slow return toward the sun, our part of the Ridge will be in shadow. A few houses down our road, they get a couple or hours of sun each day, but we are at the head of a deep bowl of land, so it will be while before the sun reaches pver the rim of the Ridge to us.

Outside, the horses stand, blanketed, dreaming of grass. Mattie likes to hang out in the shed, sulking. Sam, the guard horse, stands by the fence, looking down at anyone driving or walking by on the road below. Their coats are thick and long: Mattie gets an undercoat like a dog; Sam’s is dense with close-growing hairs like a caribou.

I’m still learning about blogs. I’ve visited other blogs to see how they format their pages, who their audience is.

I have two main purposes for this blog at this point. First, I want a concrete way to develop ideas for a literal Mattie’s Pillow–a place with buildings, people, etc.  I’m starting this by posting links to poets, artists, horse and dog and gardenig sites–anything that fits the image I have of Mattie’s Pillow.  Second–though I’m doing this first–I want a way to share the work I do on my current sabbatical: poems for a chapbook and chapters for a book of essays on the horse.

What I’m not clear on now  is who my audience is. This may take some time. I don’t  yet know who you are, but it may be you.

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