It is early Thursday morning, and routine, which has been evasive over the last month, is returning to me. A quarter past six, and there is not even the subtle brightness of the sun, which usually turns the speckled black sky into some shade of deep violet before it is turned blue, and the clouds turned pink. It is snowing. Not a heavy snow, but snow that has barely passed from being rain; small crisp crystals that make a noise when they fall onto your jacket. I am lucky to have finished shingling the roof the day before yesterday. It would have been quite an effort to manage now.
Today I was up particularly early, and have already been reading “Lovers and Tyrants” by Francine du Plessix Gray for an hour. The days are so short now, it is hard to go to sleep at a reasonable time. The dark and the cold hit early, driving me into my van to light up the propane heater. Morning free time has always been my favorite, and how much more I get when morning restlessness obstructs sleep.
I still live in my van, and cannot see it otherwise for at least a few weeks. So comfortable it is with just one glowing propane heater in just 14 cubic meters of space. Though not well insulated, I also need not care of leaving a door open shortly, or cracking a window to brush my teeth; in fact it is all the better to let out some of the carbon monoxide that I’m sure exists. I have a carbon monoxide detector near the floor, but and untrusting of its warnings, as it has not alarmed as of yet. I am keen to stay well aware of my consciousness, and any lightheadedness that may indicate a catastrophic lack of oxygen.
Lots to do on the house: caulking, insulation, panels to cover the fiberglass, stairs for the loft, running of electrical lines, and laying the slate and grout in the corner that will house my wood stove. The temperatures are not nearly bad enough yet to make me worry. I expect that this domicile will be a work in process for a good while. Tile around the shower, trim and paint on the exterior, sink and countertop all means something to do well into the spring (If I can keep the money flowing, construction is expensive.) My days now will be again in pursuit of the green stuff, moving the completion date of my wood stove further back.
I will miss this van. All the dirtbag days I’ve spent in the cold. Most recently with my dog curled up near my torso, warming us both. The small space which is completely adequate for my small needs, with built in power, stove, and fridge. Spending my time standing next to a wood stove in the morning, and reading in a chair nearby will be nice, but Ill miss warming myself by the raging propane heater after scuffling to find my way in new snowfall for my morning constitutional. Every moment important, every step in the process beautiful. I’m trying my best not to be stressed about the imminence of January, and just enjoy the shortest days of the year for what they have to offer: wondrous sleepless mornings.