For the last three days, not even the ducks ventured out. Everyone hunkered down. The fire’s been kept burning. I’ve alternately stared into the fire and delved deep into Steve Price’s latest, Lampedusa. The last 150 pages gripped and I likely wouldn’t have left the house if the rain had been snow on any day.

I lived the first two-thirds of my life in mountains where it snowed in the winter. Rain was an anomaly. I can’t remember a winter rain. Ever. Of course, these were high mountains. The ridges topped 13,000 feet and four or five 14,000 foot peaks could be seen from town. Town sat at 10,000 feet, so even in the summer, it was more likely to snow than rain.

We learned that there were days it was best to keep the fire going, sit with a good book and let the weather outside settle down. To run by on its own. Those days, you slow cooked steel-cut oats. You put the apple chunks in early, to infuse the oats with the apple’s sweetness. The chopped walnuts you threw in last and just long enough to warm, so they stayed crunchy. And it really didn’t matter if you sprinkled brown sugar or maple syrup over the blob, as long as you had whole milk or even better, cream.

In a day, or two, three at the most, the weather would change and we’d head out again.

This morning about 7:30 the rain turned to snow. The air cooled. The clouds started to lift. Another morning in front of the fire and all will be good.

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