I am buying a space heater to help me retain heat while I am at home, which has been colder inside than the air outside for the past few days. I cannot use my wood-burning stove until I clean out the chimney pipe, or call someone else to do it for me. I need dry wood for the wood-burning stove. I need long matches. I need more mirrors for the candles. I need to find out if I can turn on the electric heat. I already did. For ten minutes. But convinced I was smelling burning I chastised myself and turned it off. I didn't want to be smoking squirrels in the walls, or driving raccoons into my bed, away from flame or dangerous heat. A man at the hardware store told me settled dust may give off the scent of burning. The dust I sweep up daily, a mixture of cobwebs and spiders and moths and me.
The water pipes need to be plugged in to prevent freezing, bursting. I need a plan in case they burst regardless.
I need shovels for in the car and by the front door. I need a plan in case the car doesn't start, is trapped in the snow, or slides off the dirt road on the mountain, or scrapes ice and connects to a tree, an animal, another car.
I need an ice scraper for the car.
I need gloves. I am currently wearing two sweaters, long socks, a vest, a coat, a hat, a scarf. I am indoors. I need more socks. I need to clip my toenails, which are growing strong and long from collagen. I pulled out a shard of glass from my heel last night.
I need a space heater. Maybe two. Maybe also an electric blanket. I need a down comforter. Maybe a rug to throw over the warped floorboards upstairs. There is a penny deeply lodged in the dirt between two boards next to the bed.
I need jugs of water in the event of losing power, losing access to my well. I need a plan if the power goes out and I cannot get to the indoor fuse box that was moved outside by the previous tenant.
I have three fire extinguishers. A spotlight flashlight. The car has all-weather tires, but one is low on air.
Low on air.
In the city, winterizing meant making sure I had a heavy coat and boots. This did not always pan out though. But nothing would ever close up, nothing would really become unreachable, there was no need to worry about losing transportation or connectivity or access to anyone or anything. The buildings were never a problem. The hot water lasted as long as you could. Nothing closed. Danger didn't really exist as part of the winter. You hoped your train wouldn't be delayed, or slip off the tracks. How often would that, though, what are the chances. You hoped your bosses would advise not coming in that day. Stay home, be safe.
There is nothing better than growing up through winters on the border of New England. Of being a kid selling wrapping paper and chocolates door-to-door taking handmarked orders and checks, ordering hot cocoa at diners with every meal but only if they will serve it with whipped cream. Being layered in your old and ugly mismatched snowpants after you dig them out from the garage, and later stripping back in the garage to your steaming freezing child's body wet with melted snow and sweat and fear that you can't feel your hands can't feel your toes they're purple they're numb - and the relief of a hot shower reminding you that you are alive, even if it takes your fingers and especially your toes a much longer time to come back to you. The hot shower is nearly orgasmic but you don't know that yet, as a child, as a mind preoccupied with what is for dinner and did I do my homework and I still can't feel my toes should I call mom. And don't look at me. You stay in the water alone and in private for once and for only in the steam fogging the sliding glass doors so that you can't see out and no one can see in, to you in your private moment, or so you hope, or so you think. Can't feel them, numb.
Winter, a child: staying in bed, a womb, gestating nothingness while you grow, wholly unaware of your parts, you succumbing to your bones elongating and your hormones stocking up and your mind expanding with your skeleton, shedding over new and respawning yourself while you have no idea of anything happening at all in the ocean of your half-woken mind, the sea of your predestined DNA, your slippery consciousness. Only much later would you understand the undertow of that sea, of a panic attack. Like steaming up the bathroom, you pray for privacy; you're given fog. It's warm underneath, cut off from the outside air, the "real air" of the room, the house, the wooden box you live in at the end of the hall, the furthest room in the corner where the heat doesn't quite fill. Inside the womb you've made of your bed you do not realize you've regressed to gestation and that you are growing, that this is why you sleep until noon if no one interrupts you, or the alarm for 6:30am on the floor across the room because you do not have a nightstand because furniture is a strange thing to have in a bedroom until you are older and an adult and realize a nightstand is an amazing design that will only enhance your life. And a chair. And a desk. And a lamp. Now that boxed room at the end of the hall inside the bigger boxed house is archaic, but arcane, so unthoughtful in its structure but so unreal with the reality it contained for eighteen years, a life as it cycled through lives and the consideration of life, like the seasons, and here we are, winter again, but not quite yet, and thank the stars our mother earth doesn't have hormones or a crush or a best friend or a family, only looming death, just like us. She was never a child. She was never a twat. Planets are circumstances, rock and soup.
There is nothing like the excitement of being a kid in school, knowing winter is approaching with its unforeseen blizzards and pre-allotted snow days, cautious two-hour morning delays and worrisome early dismissals. The joy of being woken up early in the morning, earlier than usual, but not really waking up, only becoming conscious of a bodiless voice that would whisper, "No school today. Go back to bed." Promptly falling back asleep for hours. Or being uncertain, no phone call yet from the school, listening to WEBE 108 in the dark of mom's room, listening for our school to be named among the New York and Connecticut districts, listed like lottery winners with updates every ten minutes. This was how we found out. We often lost power. We waited in the living room with flashlights until it returned. Don't open the fridge. Don't flush the toilet. The power always came back though. We never worried.
It is only October and I am winterizing my home. My bed is not yet a womb, I still have no desk or chair, I will not receive whispers in the dark telling me to go back to sleep. I will be hoping the power doesn't cut overnight so that my alarm will still wake me up early, so that I may sneak downstairs to place my phone against the one kitchen window where No Service becomes 1x and will slowly, uncertainly, download messages one at a time, in case someone had taken the care to write, "Stay home, be safe."