Early, before sunrise, the tiniest hint of grey morning light in the sky. Let’s say around minus one degrees. That’s what it was when she checked the weather report last night. She is in bed under a doona and two woolly blankets. No beanie. Her head is cool and her body is warm. She’s comfortable except for the itches and she tracks them over her body, watching them and then noticing each one fade to gone. There’s one on her sternum right now just near her heart. It itches. She watches and sees clearly just for a second, the miracle of letting go, of being at ease. Still, mindfully awake. The dog stirs, scratches itches of her own, thumps off her bed onto the floorboards. Her claws tap to the kitchen door and back. The dog does this on purpose. She wants to go outside and sniff the morning air. She wants to squat on the mulch and pee. The dog has needs. It’s a battle of wills and, of course, the dog wins, but the woman doesn’t mind. She will remember that peacefulness for weeks and hang onto it when things go sour. She scratches her back, and the dog’s ears, and gets up to make the tea.


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