White Zero

The artic cold has come, has left magic, and has gone.  I went for a long white walk at zero. At white zero I seemed to be the only living creature out and about. The valley was emptied of everything but snow, the last gesture of trees frozen in place glazing silver over a white landscape. The stream ran under an icy covering breaking through here and there as though the water was coming up for a quick breathe before dropping back under the newly made folds of ice.

Down the hill I went though a pure powered snow where I found the neighbor's cows tucked into his barn, heavy plumes of their misty breathing crowning their heads.   Only one bothered to turn my way, wondering, I'm sure, what exactly the nature of my madness might be.

Made exaltant by the glory of it all I climbed to the top of the hill  where I stood and looked and saw: nothing. The eastern meadow, normally just over the ridge a few feet distant, was gone gone gone.  The great white zero had consumed the entire meadow leaving only the barest trace of remains along the edge of the trackless top.

Hungry, this weather : for firewood, running streams, birdcall.  Anything moving was fair game for this beast of a number.  I knew that was sure to include me if I lingered so to home, to tea, to the warmth of the woodstove fire I took myself, now a red-cheeked foot-stomper.  A bit of plummage and a new species would surely be born.

Not the all-consuming proverbial black hole of other galaxies but our very own.  White not black, equally invisible, equally infinite and white.  The great white zero.