Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission
These mornings, I rise long before dawn, and go out into a hostile world.
Today, the wind cut through my clothes, and I howled while the dogs shook and shivered. Trees bent and swayed, sap popping and cracking and branches hitting and creaking in the noisy dark. Snow swirled crazily through all this, flakes with icy edges sticking on the frozen deck and the hard, uneven earth, and blowing down my neck and wringing tears from my eyes.
Back inside, I look with new eyes. I feel grateful for our little house. It is small, it needs a good cleaning, it is crowded with dogs - and it shelters us fully and completely.
The dogs mess up the house, mess up the yard, mess with the order and freedom of our lives - and give us love and loyalty and, daily, the knowledge that we are only part of a continuum that began in caves, around fires, with dogs only a step from wolves and man only two steps from apes.
I squabble with my husband, argue with my siblings, challenge my (step)daughter. But these relatives and their families, my dad and his wife, my aunt and uncle and nephews, and all their families will love me until the day I die, as I will them, and in this love is an ancestry and a future stretching farther than my eyes will ever see.
Here at the edge of the year, I look back and I look ahead and then, with luck, I see this moment.