Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Hunkered In

The sky keeps changing colors, the wind roars all night and morning. Sometime overnight it pulled the chicken-hut door off its hinges and smashed it to kindling.
We are down to one aged hen. The orange cats sit with her on the woodpile, keeping her company.   
Moratinos hunkers down. The water in the furrows turns to ice, the dogs delight the sudden slide underfoot. I have to take them out each morning, even when the wind is knocking me sideways, tearing aluminum strips off the highway bridge and flinging them down the autopista. There are almost no cars or trucks on the autopista. It’s dangerous to drive, wind here, snow to the north, the passes over the mountains are closed.  A man was killed up there yesterday, putting on his tire-chains at Pajares. A car slid on the ice and into him, hit his head, knocked him dead.  
The roaring goes on
for hours and days, it shoves smoke back down the chimney, it takes down the rotten trees along the road to San Martin. Our house is drafty. The furnace goes and goes, but the halls are chilly. We keep the doors closed. Breezes blow under the sills and around the edges, through the little holes in the electrical outlets. The chimneys moan. 
Boris the canary sings on. We play Chopin nocturnes.
We spend our days apart. Paddy sleeps. Ollie is down at the hostal bar, there is noplace else to go in Moratinos in January. The cats and I sit on the sofa near the pellet stove, hidden behind two lines of drying laundry. Last night’s pilgrim was shocked that we hang laundry in our living room. “My wife would never permit that,” the Slovakian man said.  
“We are not bourgeois,” I told him. “We don’t have a dryer. The laundry dries in here where the stove is.”  
The laundry smells clean.  
It’s started to snow.  It won’t last.  The sun shines bright, but the sky is grey as gunmetal.
The chimney thunders. Another pilg is on his way, a Swede, or maybe a Finn, or a Dane. 


mawuli said...

I wondered about the wind after seeing the warning on the Forum about trees blowng down along the Camino west of Sarria. Stay warm.

Ingrid said...

Stay warm and don't wear red shoes/ boots...you might get swept up and who knows where you'd land.­čśë seriously I know how the wind howls and shakes the trees as I look outside my windows. Also remember Meseta winds from my 2012 Camino...brutal

Susan said...

You're open over Winnter? Amazing.

Paul G said...

Get Ollie to seal up those cracks...!

Unknown said...

Very descriptive- I felt like I was there in the room with the laundry drying. You’re a hardy ‘mob’ though (the humans and the mascotas).

Virginia ("Ginn") said...

There is something comforting about the winter months, drying the clothes indoors in close quarters. It does keep one somewhat humbled. January on the Meseta has its own magic, I imagine (I was raised on the prairies/plains.) Only one hen...I am glad the cats accommodate her. Chickens do like a flock and someone to henpeck a bit. I love your prose. <3 - Ginn