Before I forget the nuances I'm forcing myself to share the fear. It's an old lady fear, a gut wrenching, bowel liquifying terror. It's new, this year, not felt before and I am hatefully feeble in its grasp.
This morning I was rigid with it, shoulders stiff and unlovely, neck hunched strangely, legs jellied and cowardly. I stood tentatively perched on the ground, not firmly rooted as I love to be, and felt the anger at my fear flooding through from head to heart and back.
It's the ice. The slick, polished, sheen of sheet ice that stretches from door to barn, to barn, to barn. Yesterday's thaw sent chill melt water running across all hard surfaces and overnight the slow streams have bonded into a continuous terror run; my very own glacier.
As I pulled on the layers, with two pairs of trousers to coddle grazed knees, I was brave and fearless. As I opened the door and took my first step, I was old and feeble, sad and scared, unable, thankfully, to curl into helplessness, as I set about feeding the livestock. But every step was tortuous, no following the crow's flight, rather plotting the least nerve-racking route, buckets in hand.
I felt like this at Christmas when the ice was almost as bad as today, and had a small fall on the road, grazing knees, but more importantly, grazing my confidence in my own infallibility to tend to the practical things around the farm, whatever the circumstances. I'm a handful of years off fifty but today I feel ancient and bruised and sad, and want, with all my heart, for the ice to melt and join the river waters and stay away.