It’s zero degrees this morning, as if there was no temperature outside. The world is postcard still. Nothing moves. The air is crisp and I breathe it in slow, not wanting to freeze my lungs or disturb the presence.
Steam curls from rooftops in the neighborhood as if I’m living in a small village and everyone is cooking breakfast over fires. Thick snow covers the road and my mailbox. Black tree trunks brush haiku across the white canvas.
The heavy snow blankets the woods behind my house with silence. No birds are at the feeder of sunflower seeds. No deer have followed the creek’s path up to paw through the white crust looking for green plants to eat. No owls meditate on the branches. Beneath the snow, mice and woodchucks sleep.
Zero is a door between death and the living. What will be born in me today? What will die?
The dawn rises pink on the frozen horizon, shifts to yellow, and slowly warms the air from nothing to eight degrees. The crystalline world sparkles in the sunlight. Crows slide across the sky, their black wings glide on the frosted air.
A cardinal sweeps to the feeder, his red feathers bright against the white background. Another cardinal. One drops into the snow to retrieve a seed and is buried for a moment to its neck. Wrens come, then chickadees, and a Downey woodpecker. Their sounds return life to the brittle woods.
I shiver in my coat and gloves until the stillness moves inside, along with the quiet of the beautiful cold, then follow the calligraphy tracks of birds into the wilderness inside.