Cold woke me up at 3am with a scary dream about things dying. In the dream cows were perennials - like plants. They died out in the winter with a hard frost but grew back in the spring as full-grown heifers. But now they were annuals and died forever with a freeze.
I got up and took the big flashlight out into the pasture to shine at old Red, the ancient matriarch of our little cow clan. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the sky was bright with stars. Red blinked back at me, chewing her cud and blowing puffs of steam. She showed no sign of impending doom. Looked amused, even.
The cold overcame my slippers in seconds and my bathrobe is cotton. I turned to go in and remembered a story about how an old(er) person had died going out to check on their cattle in the cold. They'd tripped in their slippers, fallen and frozen to death.
Did I remember that or make it up? Was it happening now?
Back inside, returning more carefully than I might have otherwise, I poke wood stove to life and contemplate how Winter hasn't yet begun.