November 22, 2007
The temperature stood at zero when I went out this morning just as dawn was pushing up over the hills above my studio. Now that I’ve been here a week, the room is retaining some warmth even though I turn the thermostat back when I leave at night. This morning I didn’t even turn the stove on while I booted my computer and checked headlines and such while waiting for my coffee to brew in the other building.
The windows and doors in the residence are tight and well-insulated. One fellow artist even opens a window in her bedroom at night because she says she gets too warm despite closing her floor registers. For some reason, though, the windows on the studio building are less efficient casement windows that close with a spring latch. I noticed the other day that I could see daylight through the side of one.
When I raised the blind this morning I found frost clinging to the panes at each corner, on the inside of the sash. The heat loss though the window wall leaves a strip of green grass about a foot wide along the length of the studio. I could see fresh deer tracks leading through the snow right up to the window. Later, I took a walk through the landscape more silent than before for the thin blanket of snow and the absence of the property manager and the office staff. I would never have observed before that their presence was palpable, but their holiday absence made the place seem even more remote than usual.
Despite my being far from home and a stranger in a strange land, I had a typical Thanksgiving. The cooking duties were distributed among all of us, and all I had to do this morning was finish the dinner rolls I’d started last night. I had some misgivings about this batch. The dough seemed stringy and spongy when I put it in the refrigerator last night. But when I turned it out to knead it this morning it felt just right. The rolls baked up flat rather than round and firm, but they tasted right.
So did the turkey. It baked up golden and succulent. The potatoes were creamy, the salad crisp, the cranberry sauce suitably sweet, and the conversation around the table pleasant and stimulating.
But Thanksgiving dinner was all that I got accomplished today. Even with twelve hands cooking and twelve hands cleaning up, producing the dinner took the whole livelong day.
I’ll be happy to get back to work tomorrow.
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