The storm woke me at 2 a.m. The pine boughs outside shrugged off their heavy coating of snow and thrashed around in the wind as they were caught up in the nightmare of winter, and the sleet came howling down in sheets from the mountain pass. It rattled the window panes and shook the walls, and I lay there in the darkness feeling vulnerable in the midst of the tempest.
The wailing of the storm front pummeling through the forest was furious and powerful. Only the strong survived the winter harvest as dead branches were ripped violently down into the gathering drifts. Those aging appendages of last year’s growth becoming fodder for next year’s soil.
There I was was such a fragile vessel made of flesh, with not even the protection of fur to cover my meager body, at the mercy of my thermal layers to shield myself from the cold. Beneath the shelter of my roof, within four walls scattered with the epiphanies of a sharpie marker, burrowing into fuzzy blankets as my skin recoiled from the draft, contemplating my mortality as the world raged outside. Such a thin divide of insulation and lumber, a scant few inches that stood between me and the season. I placed my palm on the cold wall to give a silent thanks to the trees that held me safe.
I could feel the storm beating against my little house, pummeling it relentlessly with an icy fist, and although it moaned and shivered, it stood fast under the abuse. I smiled to myself as I drifted back into my dreams, feeling proud of my home like I would a good watch dog who guarded my front door. My eye lids grew heavy like the white blankets of snow outside, my mind snuggled comfortably into the music of the wind, and the lingering smoke from my incense rose into the rafters to preside over my nest of dreams.