A Calm, Frozen Night


The crisp air settled down into the trees as we all drifted to sleep, freezing the ground and preparing for snow.  I awoke slowly in the depth of night.  Bundling up with boots, pants, jacket, and scarf, I eased the door open and stepped onto the deck.  The silence reminded me of winters long gone when I watched the snow float into our yard in the middle of the night, the white so achingly beautiful around me.

Tonight though, there was no snow.  Not even any clouds yet.  Without the glow of the houses around me, the landscape was deeply dark… and it seemed that every star in the sky had turned their spotlights to this porch.

I could feel the frost descending onto blades of grass, browning leaves, and the railing of the deck.  I lost track of time.

I began to count my exhales, watching puffs of steam escaping into the chill, then dissipating.

Abruptly, I noticed dawn was approaching with a yellow line on the blue-black horizon.  I glanced up at the stars again and noticed the distance they had covered since my last look.

Clouds had begun to roll in.  I could smell the coming snow.

There you have it folks, as promised: a perfect winter night in 200 words.

The peculiar thing about writing this post (which, as with the 200 words about summer, is fiction) is that I found myself wanting to write more non-fiction again.  I found memories popping up that I hadn’t thought of in years, and I wanted to get them down before they flitted away for another decade.  This time of year is a particularly good time for that type of writing, what with all the holidays and family and ‘warm memories’ to inspire me.

I have a few things planned for my posts next week – especially for Friday the 23rd! – but I want to hold on to this reignited passion (passion might not be the right word… how about simple interest) in creative non-fiction and see where it’ll take me.

(Note: I thought about putting a picture in this post, until I realized that NOTHING on Google was what I see when I wrote/read this passage.  Knowing this, I didn’t want to ruin the visual experience of this writing for other people, so I chose not to put in a picture.)

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About jmmack

Full-time swim coach and pool program manager in the Seattle area. Swimmer, writer, cross-stitcher, HP fan, wife, sister, auntie of two nephews, human to a feisty Jack-Russell mix.
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