I was delivering Mr. Holmes' Caravan for the third time, this time the door locks on the door we replaced weren't working. He rides a bike. No, really rides it, even has the special, clip-in shoes. He tells me I have wonderful to work with. Wonderful. As it was the last two times he picked up this van, we linger in the parking lot, talking about life. He keeps egging me to enroll in some local bike race for charity, even though I told him I spent my last hunk of spare change on roller blades. He looks down at my cigarette.

Those things'll kill you, you know?
Yeah well…
But that's ok. More work for me (chuckle), since I'm an X-Ray technician (chortle).
I just can't see myself quitting before I leave New Orleans
You told me, I remember.
Yeah, well, I guess I want to leave this ALL (wide gesture encompassing the lot) behind me when I go.

There's a cold cold front coming, I was told. It will stay cold for good now, even though cold for us is 50. Even now, I can feel the brittle in my bones, the memory of damp sweater cold claps in my lower back. Every winter (not really a winter) I've spent in some clapboard squat with no insulation and random heating units. Then I will go from cold to real cold, then return, then likely leave in the coldest of our year here, as the grand finale round the bend for Mardi Gras. And then, to yet another season of real cold playing itself into the deep shadows of spring, in the flatter regions of Virginia.

She's about to ice over. I can feel it.

It has been years, lifetimes, since I've had to plan for real cold, and yet in the midst of thinking sweaters and socks, I feel a hint of rebirth. Perhaps I can hibernate and be renewed in real spring. Perhaps when I live back in a world with real seasons, my heart will remember what they are.

It is not the snow I fear, it's the ice storms. Water freezing over, crushing down with its glassy weight. Yes, that is what to fear, ice crashing in front of you and behind.

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