January in New England. Cold, dark, and perfect for curling in with a book by a fire, or hunkering down with a hot drink by a keyboard to write.
My current pleasure is the latest edition of The Paris Review. From the opening of Letter from Osterlen by Karl Ove Knausgaard:
"I'm feeling low. The feeling fades when I write, and that's why I write, to escape from myself. Even if I write about me. Something happens when my thoughts meet words and sentences, a space opens up, a space beyond any thought or sentence."
What follows is a beautiful, melancholic musing on life, reading, and writing over the passage of a few dark, cold, winter days. A few days ago, we witnessed hundreds of black crows gathering in the woods behind our house, coming in from over the valley below. We stood at the windows, mesmerized. Knausgaard describes a similar experience near the end of the letter:
"I decided to go for a drive instead of writing. I took one of the narrow lanes, flanked by snow-covered fields, with large drifts here and there and more coming in veils of white through the air, exactly as if I were high in the mountains. On reaching the coastal road, I turned left and drove alongside the hills, enormous, dark gray clouds rising up behind their ridges. After a few hundred meters, I saw that one hillside was completely black, and as I drew closer, I realized it was birds. The same black crows that usually perched in the tree behind the house. Now they were on the ground, an enormous flock of them, numbering perhaps six or seven hundred, in the lee of the slope, sheltering from the sea wind. I had never seen anything like it before and pulled over to the side of the road. It was an astounding sight. The massing clouds, filled with sun at their clefts and gaps, the sea, hidden from view by the steep snowy hillside, the wind coming over the crest and the flock of birds appearing utterly lost, as though in the wake of a catastrophe."
Your word prompt for the challenge this week, from the above passage, is: