Steam from the tea kettle jets into the space of the night-clad kitchen. Outside trillions of tiny water-droplets permeate the air, softening the glow of lamp light in the windows of the neighborhood, and drip with the softest of sounds from the frondy branches of the camphor trees. The lonesome wail of the north-south pacific coast train pulls towards itself my thoughts of people far-distant in time and place. I feel comfortable and intimate in my small wooden house, a bungalow built in the 1920's. The cat brushes my ankles in a bid for food and attention.
The next day everything is different. The temperature has dropped and now cold magnifies and emphasizes everything. Colors glow distinct, air snaps with freshness and an oxygen load, blood picks up its pace, and movement hastens. For a few days we are in a different world, a world of cold and clarity, of wide-awakeness and an acute awareness of distances.