A Light in the Window, and a Place Called Home

By , December 14, 2010

“When the snow flies and the night falls, there’s a light in the window, and a place called home at the end of the storm . . . .”

—Judy Collins, The Blizzard

Dark had fallen while Aly and I were in town, her for a meeting, me to mail a few autographed copies of my new book. We had already hauled in a load from the car earlier in the day, but I froze my fingers sorting and packing a second load while waiting for Aly to finish. The drive to town on the “toy” spare had been rather hair raising, the attempt to make contact with the recommended tire shop futile. With the coming dark, headlights glinted evilly on the road ice. The drive home promised to be far worse.

We made it, as we always seem to do. Bundling up against the fine snow and a howling north wind, we shouldered heavy packs, lowered goggles over our eyes, and pressed across the bay. As we reached the shelter of the forest, we adjusted our clothing to vent some of our body heat before beginning the climb over the ridge. On the dark trail, feebly lit by a cloud shrouded moon, we experimented with new headlamps, switching from white to red light. In the night vision-preserving red glow, our peripheral vision expanded around us; the darkness seemed to press a bit less. We talked of this and that, shouting to be heard as we moved single file over the snowy ground.

Soon, we hurried along the stretch of trail that passes above the homestead. Looking down through the trees, the lights of our tiny cabin shone on the snow. We could smell the smoke of the home fire, along with a hint of garlic and onions sautéed for the evening meal.

Gladly, we dropped down the slope to the dooryard, stomped the snow from our boots, pulled the deer antler latch string bobble, and went inside.

We had come home.

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