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Jack Frost Nipping

This morning, long before the sun peeked over the gargantuan pines lining the front yard, I went outside with my camera. (I’m trying to be a good blogger and take pictures as often as I can. So far, I’d give myself a D minus.) What the hell can I shoot today? I wondered. The yard is the yard is the yard. Trees, grass, shrubs. The broken-down Adirondack chair that neither The One nor I have the heart to bring to the dump. The lichen-covered hammock. As I was about to turn on my very cold heels, I heard it. The grass crunching. Kind of the way Momma Leite’s heavily shellacked beehive crunches right after Noreen does her hair on Thursdays.

Frost.

It may not have been the first time frost has covered everything this year, but it was the first time I was outside before sunrise to hear and see it. I crunched through the yard, bending over to take close-ups of frosted dead grass (not very interesting), frosted dead leaves (even less interesting), and a frosted mouse kidney (leftovers from Devil Cat’s latest meal).

Then I saw it. The yew hedge tucked into the winter shade was dusted with frosted flakes, as I called frost when I was a kid. While I got myself all set up, a car slowed as it drove by. You’d think they’d never seen a man in his pajamas and T-shirt standing on a chair far too delicate for his rotundness to snap pictures of a hedge before. I remembered my favorite Christmas song, aptly named “The Christmas Song,” and the line “Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” (After I’d been outside for almost 45 minutes, I can assure you, he was nipping at a hell of a lot more than just my nose.) I began very loudly serenading the nosy driver with lyrics. I just pray it wasn’t Barbara Henry, our first selectman. I have enough to explain without adding this to the list.

Chilled, I hightailed it back inside. My first thought: hot chocolate. Nah, too sweet. Then I asked WWRD? (What would Renee do?) And I knew I had the perfect drink I could nip all the way to New Year’s: Spruce Needle Vodka. I looked at our Christmas tree–a handsome balsam–and wondered what The One might do if he came home and found the tree on its side and Devil Cat tangled in the string of lights he could suddenly reach now that half the tree branches had gone missing. I thought better of it and added “pine boughs” to my grocery list. How will I ever explain this to the manager at the Stop & Shop?

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