You don't love like a New Englander.

And that's okay, but I mean, you don't love like a cold-weather man.

I was talking to Raven, this time last year, and she was telling me about California. "In California," she said, "you get with somebody, and you give them everything you think you can afford to give, assuming that you'll never see that person again. You accept from them only as much as you can afford to lose. Or rather, everything you think you can keep when they take their presence out of your life." It seems so sad to live that way. Raven thinks so too, that's why she keeps coming back out East. To drop in on the friends she's left out here, still steady and waiting, and just the same.

I told her, "Out here, the winters get so cold. we try to give each other everything we have, commit way too early, and shack up right away. It's too cold to have an uncertain love life. We just bite down on the difficulties when they step into the lamplight, and wait for the frost to melt. We cook each other big meals and we eat all together like a family. We are in bed by 9pm."

She says, "How boring."

But this is what we do to make it. We have to have our root cellars full by the time the trees disrobe, and we have to know how many ways that food will be split. Or someone could go hungry. And no one wants to spend the winter alone. So in the spring everyone gets dumped, and in the fall, the stragglers attach to the best they think they can get.

We have fridges now, and long distance shipping methods. Oranges in our stockings at Christmas are a reminder of the time when they were impossible to acquire. The kids don't even eat them, any more. December-tropical fruit can't compete with all the chocolate.

So, city-man, it's hard to watch you arrive and depart, it puts a nervous tremor in my fingers and my heart. We're a little bit frightened up here.

Everytime you leave, and return, I get a little bit less afraid.

Our sails are set for winter, and I'll teach you how to love.

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