Zero in Fahrenheit above on the hill this morning.
Winter was coming, the electric was turned off. Would this be a good time to move to Maine? I don’t think we asked that question. We were elated to be moving to Maine. No jobs awaited us. No house or electricity. Would this be a good time to move to Maine? No one was asking as we sat around the glow of the small cylindrical “moonlighter” kerosene heater. It was a marvel of warmth and light to us in the trailer in a village in rural woodland Pennsylvania. Maine: There’s even an ocean, a Gulf.
The heater went into the capacious trunk of the old Buick, home canned goods, gift of R.’s mother, were strapped to the luggage rack on top. A friend, with sheep farm, was storing some furniture in her barn. Everything else — into the car. We were 2 (almost) adolescents and 2 (almost) adults.
Maine was the mythic place where moose and bear live. We knew Bear in PA, but not moose. Bear were not mythic. Moose? Moose.
Naturally God was going to take care of us. Or would that be “supernaturally?”
We lived on a pond that first Winter. Not out on the ice. The ice came later, whooping and cracking. When I first heard these sounds of expansion and contraction I thought bears were flinging metal garbage cans hither and yon. Sometimes it boomed with muted force. Or cracked along its frozen-water molecular spine.
We did not know much about wood stoves for heat. The pipe turning cherry red was some kind of clue. There’s this stuff called creosote. It catches on fire. Naturally — or supernaturally? — your rented ski chalet does not burn down. But you switch to electric… which got you into this in the first place.
Or would that be… unfortunately?
The bill got quite big. But there was this law in Maine. No shutoffs in winter with the workaround. Naturally. Or… well. You know.