I sprinkle salt on the frozen yard to ease my passage out to the garden shed. It hisses and spits like golden bubbles of kelp that burst underneath foot on the seashore in July . I wore shorts then and little else and my legs were tan and my toe nails bore a deep burgundy sheen. All things are related. There is always something to remind me of something else, of brighter days when freezing fog does not hinder my vision, the cloud of obscurity always lifts and gives a hint of brighter pasts or futures.
Dogs' paws hurt from cold ground. They come in the kitchen after being outside and whimper at the sear of cold ice on their feet. The coldest winter in about fifty years in this country. Schools are closed until next Thursday. No one complains. There are books to be read and guitars to be played and books to be studied and fires to be lit. Fires of the soul. The fire is called upon on these days. We all need to rekindle the old fire that lives within us. I know. Sometimes my fire goes out or very nearly dies yet I always manage to catch it just before the last flame disappears. These days I have to remind myself;
''don't let the fire die Mary,'' I tell myself
''why?'' myself says
''because if you do, you might as well be dead,'' I tell myself
''Oh,'' myself says, ''well in that case, you better stoke it up good and strong.''
And so I tell myself to rattle the grate with as much gusto as myself can muster and myself laughs at the racket I create and soon the flame catches and the glow, the mighty glow of the fire, honestly, you would have to step back from the might of it and hold in your breath 'til you can't breathe so well because the sparks that fly can make you nervous, can make you long for the roar. Can put you rightly in your place and remind you that there are bigger things, bigger and more powerful things in store.