Winter Soon

Go outside. Onto your front porch or into the parking lot. Breathe. In through your nose. Do you smell it? The barky, brownish-gray scent of smoke? Someone nearby must have lugged a portion of their woodpile inside and arranged it just so in the orifice of their hearth. Perhaps they then sprinkled it with a handful of fallen leaves from an oak or maple, pressed a button, and Floom! Flame emerged from a long-handled lighter. Created coziness.
            Inhale again. Is there something else? Indeed there is--the fragrance of the clouds when they prophesy, “Snow soon.” I love that ice-blue perfume, grin as it stirs remembrance on the inside of me. Do the math. Smoke somewhere + snow soon = my happiness.
            I’m craving another scent and I know how to make it happen. I enter my house from the evening dog walk and search determinedly for a box of matches. Here they are. So much better than a book of them. Uniform and diminutive, stand-at-attention-wearing-red-hats, suicide bombers. One or more of them will sacrifice themselves in the fire for the greater good—my olfactory pleasure.
            The lid of the candle jar settles on the entryway’s tabletop with a hula hoop’s 'round and 'round frenzy followed by a metallic Ca-lank! A pale redhead skitters across the strike strip then Fuwah! Becomes a brilliant, quivery tulip of light. Petal points twitch and sway when the furnace exhales with a grunt. Down into the charred jar I tuck my flame-bearing fingers. Kiss the black-blossomed wick with orange and purple. Invisible wafts of butter, yeast, and cinnamony sweetness rise. So does a corner of my mouth.
            I hurry to the entrance and unchain, unbolt, swing back the old, carved door. Elbow open the newer, top-to-bottom-glass storm door. I restrain the latter with my hip. Notice the slap of straight bitter cold on my left cheek. Relish the golden dry house heat on my right. I gather the night again. In through my nose. Fill my lungs completely with the knowledge of fire somewhere, snow soon, and imaginary treats baking. This, these, I love.

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