Her breath hung in the air for a millisecond before seemingly shattering into an icy shower. Everything was white, stark, and elegantly harsh.
Footsteps crackled and a fine cloud of snow puffed up from her boots. GRRRRcccrrreeeaakk! The barn door slowly slid open. A tiny mouse skittered away from the light, a kernel of stolen corn between its sharp teeth. Inside, it almost seemed balmy compared to the frigid outdoors. Suddenly, a small weak cry came from the corner, answered immediately by the soft throaty voice of a mother goat. The girl hurried over to peer into the pen. A new kid! Shivering and wet, its mama nudged it with her nose. Frantically, she licked, trying to dry her young before it froze.
The spell of morning was broken. A whirl of straw-colored hair and parka flew into the house. Towels! Iodine! Hairdryer! Warm water! Pandemonium reigned in the farmyard as everyone bustled about like EMTs at a head-on collision. Every second counted.
Towels rubbed matted goat fluff, iodine sloshed the brand-new bellybutton, the racket of the hairdryer filled the small space, spooking the hens and making the new mom naa nervously.
Soon baby stood on wobbly legs. Tentative kid-lips tasted a swollen nipple. And then, a cautious suck, a first swallow. Little brown eyes came alive! Food! A little white tail flagged for the first time. Mama goat mumbled her encouragement and nudged her baby’s bottom, almost knocking it over in enthusiasm.
All the humans slumped in relief. The winter afternoon grew still again, but now, somehow warmth had stolen into the day.