Still not much snow. It’s a strange year, warmer than usual. People should be happy, you would think. Not so much snow. We haven’t had any of those days where the temperatures just plummet and the wind blows through and nothing will keep it from going through your coat, your pants, even if you’ve got your heavy winter suit on. It finds its way down your neck, through your sleeves and into your gloves. When I come up here I have to leave the truck running or it won’t start back up. People still go out, there’s a sort of defiance to it, I think. We don’t want to let winter wear us down. Maybe if we force ourselves out in it, yell right into the bastard wind out of the northwest it won’t get to us. I’m not really a howl-at-the-moon type of guy, but I’ve seen guys do that, jump out of their trucks and howl like their some kind of viking attacking the empty land.
At least we’re past the turn of the year, the milennium. Before that, people were wondering if something was up. Maybe that crazy preacher is right and something was going to happen. People were jumpy. I don’t usually do it in the winter, but I had my rifle in the truck. I have a handgun, too, but I left it behind. I thought, Maybe if I leave that back at the station things will stay calm. And they did.
What makes these days feel so empty is there’s not much snow on the ground. We’ve had dry winters, lots of ‘em since I’ve been around, but this one seems more barren to me. Maybe Finn is right and it’s everything else that’s going on, Laura gone, moved into my little rented room, family who won’t speak to me. I look out over this field. Usually it’s all covered over by January, but this year you can see it’s half-bare. It’s all barren and brown, with just a little bit of snow lining the bottoms of the furrows where I turned over the soil in the fall.
For a lot of people, this time of year is pretty slow and bleak. People go to the uptown and drink a lot. I hear about a lot of families fighting, especially if they’re drinking a lot. I’m the odd duck — I guess I always was. I usually come out here and see the snow covering everything and think of how it’s shielding the soil, the good black soil, from the wind and the cold and all the frozen hell blowing across it, keeping it safe and fresh to burst out in Spring. Spring is a long ways away but you can almost feel it there, lying asleep. This year, though, it all just seems gray and barren. Something that usually gives it life isn’t here.