It’s the final hours of 2017 and I’m listening to the soft breathing of my husband and (not-so-soft breathing) dog as they snooze, competing for space on the couch.
We are all worn out. The dog got multiple walks in snow that balled up in between the pads of her feet. My husband rode his bike on snow-covered backroads and shoveled the long driveway at the cottage multiple times, ensuring we don’t get stuck here tomorrow when we go to leave. I got to use the snowshoes that replaced an old, broken pair last winter (but never got used because the snow stayed away), snow-shoeing for nearly three hours on a deserted lunar-landscape of a beach. I shot my last two rolls of film for the year–one 120mm slide film, something I’ve never shot before and an expired Ilford SFX 35mm, opting for a red filter and again, a risk as I haven’t explored that kind of film before.
It’s New Year’s Eve and we sure know how to party.
There’s a fire in the fireplace, my feet just inches away. I’ve binge-watched three episodes of Black Mirror, which is dark and fitting (I think, anyway) for a place like this, a stretch of beach that few inhabit in the winter. I can hear the wind and the waves, and the nearly-full moon made a short appearance before the clouds swallowed it up a few hours ago.
It is desolate here. When Lake Michigan tells you you’re not wanted, you best believe her. Tomorrow we’ll leave and the house will be winterized and I won’t see the ice buildup, the drifts that cover the doorways, the unpassable driveway. By spring it’ll be chillingly cold but the snow will have left no trace, other than a re-carved and freshly scrubbed beach. It’s how it works here, the seasons cycle and refresh. I hate to be away.
I am cherishing the quiet of these last few hours of 2017.