The January Thaw


When she awakened that morning, she heard water. She laid there in her warm bed, wondering where that sound could be coming from. It had been so cold, frigid really. The sound of water was coming from outside the door.

The old woman got up, slipped her feet into her shoes, and walked to the window of the living room in her small home, putting on her robe as she went. She opened the blinds and saw the sun shining for the first time in weeks. Then she saw the source of the water. The creek in front of her house had thawed and was running rapidly.

“Ah,” she said to her dog, her loyal companion, “It’s the January thaw. Short-lived, but welcome.”

She dressed rapidly, thinking she might go outside. She studied herself in the mirror as she went through her morning routine. At one time in her life, she had been considered beautiful. Her long hair, now gray, had been her crowning glory. Now, she grabbed it and twisted it up into a messy bun. Her face was still smooth, but now it had the lines and wrinkles of wisdom and life. Her life had never been easy, but there had been lots of enjoyable times. As she peered into the mirror, she could see it showed on her face and out of her eyes. She applied her creams and potions.

She was ready for the day. When she stepped outside, she stopped. There was melting ice and snow and running water in the creek. She could hear her doctor’s words ringing in her ears. Don’t take a chance on falling! She turned and went back into her house.

As she sat down at her computer to write, she thought, “Why do I still feel so young when I’m getting so old?” She was bound by the limitations of her body, but there were no limitations of her mind or imagination. It made aging quite difficult.

She began to write.


This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Thaw from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.




  1. I turned 63 last summer and while I’m still quite active, I can feel the changes on my body as time relentlessly pursues me. Lifting heavy barbells at the gym should preserve my strength so that I don’t have to fear falls caused by muscular atrophy, but no one ever escapes the requirements of time.

    That said, I must agree that sitting at the keyboard and writing is one doorway into a completely timeless world, one in which I can be whomever I choose.


    1. I’m 65, James. Living alone. Physically stronger right now than I’ve been in years, but, as you say, time pursues us all. I’m more likely to break a bone than a 30 year old. Simply a fact. Writing allows me to express my creative side. I worked using my analytical side most of my career. Being able, now, to express my creativity is new and has, indeed, opened up a whole new world, professionally and personally. When I can’t write, I get in a really bad mood! 🙂


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