Waiting on the Magi


Eight inches of snow fell Christmas night, a few more inches accumulated the next day. The world fell silent for a time.

The oil-filled electric heater in my little studio needs time to warm and fill the space. I wear fingerless gloves like Bob Cratchit where he labored at Scrooge’s ledgers with scant coal on the fire. I don’t shut the door, just prop it ajar with a winged bronze pig as a door stop so the dog can see me sitting in the corner. She doesn’t like to come in; she waits outside lying on a flokoti rug in the next room with a vantage of all approaches.

Snow still fell while I shoveled on Boxing Day and Mercy circled the hill casting for the missing quail and squirrels—snow in big tattered flakes like ripped muslin, not the crystaline shapes cut from folded Christmas paper. The shoveled path from house to road and then down it filled in again and again with fresh heavy snow, but it’s wiser to shovel two inches six times than twelve inches once.

I offer Ethan $20 to help dig a track down the hill to the crossroad. He is thirteen now, born in the house next door. He doesn’t understand why we are shoveling when more snow is forecast. I point up at the sun rising above the fir trees and tell him the day will help melt new snow from the bare pavement. He wears a lion’s head hat as he shovels. I give him a $5 tip.

The old year is as shaggy and soiled as the melting snow.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea earned her BA in English before embarking on a career in technology and public service. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay award, Treefort’s 2017 Wild West Writing Prize, and was named runner-up in Cutbank 2018 Big Sky/Small Prose contest. Her creative nonfiction is featured in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and elsewhere; she is the author of the novel Pandora's Last Gift. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kim lives in Oregon, where she studies the moon and stars and wanders with her Labrador in the rain.

6 thoughts on “Waiting on the Magi”

  1. We got the same snow it seems. Not the same flakes of course because they’re all unique, but I like your description of the shapes. It’s a stretch, but it reminded me of the raggedy shape of the dough I molded into “spinners” (thin, dumpling style) for a Jamaican stew pea recipe I got out of Cooks Illustrated. It will be my stand-in for black-eyed peas this year as it has most of the same ingredients, particularly the ham hock. Great way to use the leftover ham from Christmas you know. And with coconut milk, and a bundle of fresh thyme, allspice berries and habanero. You pierce the chili so it slow releases the spicy juice and you can control the heat level somewhat by pressing on it with a wooden spoon to release more. I love the utility in that. Anyhow, I dig the Bob Cratchit reference and have my own fingerless gloves too. Have been taking a lot of solo walks through the nearby state park to admire the look of things, so rare in our parts for snow like this. And good for day dreaming or meditation, good for what ails you. Enjoy the end and the beginning as it were Kim, and thanks for being such a good, newfound friend. Fast friends, thick as thieves. Bye for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That stew sounds delicious and the aroma must be delicious as well while it cooks. There’s a fire going beside me, but I’m still in my fingerless gloves trying to type somehow. Enjoy the snow while it lasts, Bill, and best wishes for a brighter New Year.

      Liked by 1 person

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