-2 Degrees at Breakfast Time

by Henry David Thoreau

-2 degrees at breakfast time, but this has been the coldest night, probably.

You lie with your feet or legs curled up, waiting for morning, the sheets shining with frost about your mouth.

Water left by the stove is frozen thickly, and what you sprinkle in bathing falls on the floor ice.

The house plants are all frozen and soon droop and turn black.

I look out on the roof of a cottage covered a foot deep with snow, wondering how the poor children in its garret, with their few rags, contrive to keep their toes warm.

I mark the white smoke from its chimney, whose contracted wreaths are soon dissipated in this stinging air, and think of the size of their wood-pile, and again I try to realize how they panted for a breath of cool air those sultry nights last summer.

Realize it now if you can.

Recall the hum of the mosquito.


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-2 Degrees at Breakfast Time

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