It's raining cats and dogs outside. Although my space heater purrs on the far side of the room, my hands still feel cold. I'm wrapped in my blanket poised to write.
Gratefully, there's wood in the wheelbarrow right outside the door and dry kindling in a large feed bag. I strike a match and shortly thereafter, the kindling ignites.
I return to my chair, to my blank screen -- a world of infinite possibilities. I read a few page in my book, take notes in my journal, and return to the empty page. I check email, update photos, send a couple texts, then gingerly place my fingers: A,S,D,F *space bar* J,K,L;
Tap, tap... tap, tap... tap, tap... Percussion, rhythm, flying fingers. I free write. Anything that comes to mind, I put down on the page. Nonsense, Jibberish. Random thoughts come freely. What wishes to be written, I ask the question I've asked a hundred times before. I could write about this, I could write about that... I feel cold. My fire has fizzled. Silence.
I place a second firestarter and strike another match. My belly growls, a flame flickers. I cut up an apple, scoop up some cashew butter, and return to my chair. Delicious.
Tap, tap, tap, tap... more nonsense, no substance. The fireplace has quickly grown cold once more.
I pad across the room in fuzzy blue slippers -- my blanket brushes the floor behind me. I open the back door, step outside and a gush of cold air grabs hold of me and won't let go. With more kindling clutched in cold hands, I kneel before the wood stove for a third time this rainy, writing afternoon. Carefully and methodically, I stack kindling, place logs, strike a match and shut the door.
I return to my chair, open a new window, stare at the blank screen and wait. What wishes to be written, I ask again and again.
A rush of frigid air sneaks up behind me; Paul is home. His cheeks are rosy, his eyes sparkle. He sits down beside me and tells me about his day. He grants me the gift of an extra hour to write, then leaves to pick up the kids from school. "You started a fire," he notes with gratitude on his way out the door.
I started a fire.
Glowing coals rest at the base of the stove, and ribbons of red and orange wrap and dance and sway around charred logs. The stove hums, the wood crackles. It's a beautiful sight to behold.
Finally, I feel warm.