Breathing deep the river-water taste of the air, you swing the fork, wide and low, spreading the food so the weakest calf has room to eat. The skin of your face is thick with cold, but the cold does not go deep. Soon enough you will have coffee and a wood fire under a snow-laden roof. You do not hurry.
Awake in your bed last night you heard the wind, which painted snow on the sides of the fence posts. Then morning came, as calm as a benediction. Before the others, you rose and dragged the bales with a hook.
Time, in this moment does not pass. This is the moment between moments, when the snow on the roof does not slide from the eaves, when the door of the outhouse neither rattles nor creaks, when the fence posts do not groan against the nails and wire that you forced upon them, that your father forced upon them, and your sons and the women of your family for years have forced upon them.
This is the moment when you command, when snow clings to the branches of the cottonwoods, when you swing the fork and the mind of the spot-cheeked cow is flooded with appetite, when old age has strength and red-haired beasts find nourishment, and when you and the spot-cheeked one, in your particular and separate ways, prevail.