A difficult year calls for the fulfilling familiarity that the cosiness of December brings. The last few weeks, leading up to the beginning of a new year, feel like a suspended simulation where one revels in one’s guiltless liberty to take a pause, disconnect from the harsh realities that life demands, and simply dwell in the bliss that Christmas calls forth. Spanning a length of only 300 words, Elizabeth Bates’ creative nonfiction piece titled Wintertime Houses combines the warmth and the comfort that so characterises the wintertime.
It was one of the first pieces that the Non Fiction Editorial Team read this season. The moment we read it, we knew this would be a non-negotiable for the winter issue.
Dwelling on a matter, as simple as purchasing a house for wintertime, Wintertime Houses examines with utter tenderness and impressive ability to capture yearning, the process of buying for the family a wintertime house. Nothing much happens here; Bates takes us through the intricacies of the process in purchasing a house during winter; there’s nestled in between the silly yet relatable anecdote of having missed the point of how cold the wooden floors might feel to the bare, unsocked feet :
“But the bitterness of wood floors on unprotected feet speaks to an unknowable desolation; a wintertime house-buyer finds this out too late.”
But Bates is mindful to follow it up with the relieving inclusion of :
“Little did we know; that same chill would soon share our address.
And then, there is something like comfort inside the wood-floored house.”
Reading the piece feels like an exciting anticipation for December to arrive with its comforting embrace and healing warmth; it feels like the bubbling frolic at the pit of your stomach, as you wait for the taxing year to come to an end and finally give in to the engulfing joy of being with your dear ones.
Even though circumstances don’t magically change over the winter holidays, it sure feels like a much needed meditative break amidst the chaos of reality. Bates’ piece evokes that sense of tranquillity amidst turbulence .
She ends with how, “ the cold never stood a chance against the roar of the fireplace;”, as very soon the Wintertime house, transforms into a home, despite the coldness, in the presence of loving company :
“This wintertime house is ours. Our wintertime home.”
Full of crispness and gentle cordiality, the piece captures in commendable briefness the glory of coming together and celebrating the close of yet another year, looking forward to the next. It makes the perfect fit for our Winter issue!
Adrija Dutta, Associate Editor, Non Fiction.
This piece of non-fiction writing has been published in the Winter 2022 Issue of Spellbinder. Read more about it and purchase a digital or paperback copy here.
Read it on the Spellnotes Medium page here.