As the temperature wavers between 5˚F and -5˚F, a fire roars in my wood stove from well before dawn until long after stars have splashed across the sky. Even Rufus, my tough little West Highland White Terrier who’s usually chasing voles in the garden or flushing owls from the woods, prefers toasting his paws on the hearth.
Looking out over the frigid landscape, I understand how blessed I am. Not far down the road and across the mountain are tattered homes with missing shingles, rusty tin roofs, sagging porches, exposed insulation, and cracked windows covered with plastic and duct tape. Some of their residents are old, some are young, some out of work. None can afford home heating fuel, and the federal and state programs that might have helped them have been cut.
Whether our neighbors are warm or cold depends on us.