Eric Mayer

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Winter's back. Last week was mild, albeit not mild enough to melt the ice off the precipitous driveway down to the road. When I hauled the trash out Thursday morning the narrow track looked like a creek. Water was pouring down it in sheets, rippling over loose bits of macadam and swirling over and around the potholes. Underneath the water lay a solid glaze of ice.

The ice never got a chance to melt. Now it's turned cold again. We're sitting inside at our computers working and trying to ignore the weather outside. It isn't easy. An hour ago a squall moved through, pulling horizontal sheets of snow across the scenery beyond the windows. We're hoping the wind doesn't bring a tree down on a line someplace and cut off our connection with the Internet. Not to mention our heat and water.

As it blew east, the squall painted the western trunks of the tall pines around the house white. The trees are swaying in the wind. The older, larger ones move slowly and stiffly. The younger, slender-trunked, whip back and forth. While the bushy hemlocks along the stonewall are bent over, away from the wind, the boughs of the pines at the edge of the woods heave up and down ponderously as if floating on a rough sea. The trees are all moving at different speeds, in different directions.

If I were a squirrel I'd be canceling my appointments.

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