|Sandhills pasture in winter|
Time marches on . . .
12/15, Sunday. Early Christmas gift: a warm watch cap from L.L. Bean that I will not take off until next spring.
12/16, Monday. Look up: in the desert sky swirls and slowly shifting shapes of high, thin clouds against stark blue, an edge of them briefly catching a flash of brilliant color from the ice crystals of a mid-day sun dog.
12/17, Tuesday. Full moon in a misty haze of early dawn clouds, shining between the slats of the kitchen window blinds as I wait for coffee, impatient for solstice and an end to these long dark nights.
12/18, Wednesday. Off at short notice to Nebraska, to join relatives for a family funeral, searching through closets before I go to find warm clothes and discovering a forgotten wool coat long zipped away in a garment bag that somehow escaped donations to Goodwill.
12/19, Thursday. Turns out there’s not a single normal sized car to be had at airport rentals in Grand Island thanks to pre-Christmas travel, and after a moment’s thought, I decide to take the remaining Ford Expedition, with its seats for nine passengers and a heater that this California driver forgot you have to wait for the engine to warm up before turning it on full blast.
12/20, Friday. It is 10 degrees in little Worms, Nebraska, where the gateway to the church cemetery says “Est. 1873” and I’m following a fresh footpath through last night’s dusting of snow to join a hundred or more gathered by a new grave, and a minister in white vestments, without a hat on his thinly-haired head, says last words, his voice resonating in the cold with Scripture readings promising life everlasting.
12/21, Saturday. I head out of town for a two-hour drive along highway 2 toward Broken Bow and the Sandhills, stopping every 20 minutes to take pictures of harvested fields, a frozen creek, and rolling grassland and discovering Ainsley (pop. 431), with two vacant storefronts side by side, built in 1916.
Image credits: Ron Scheer
Coming up: Marlon Brando, The Appaloosa (1966)