The diner is closed today for weather, a paper sign on the door, the parking lot unplowed, the trains derailed at Mason City because of the ice. That noise could have been deer folding into the fields while the Monticello Boys Choir sang in the auditorium about messenger angels. But what is ceremony without coffee, pancakes wet with butter, frozen blueberries, spatulas greased with this morning’s eggs, while someone crouches outside in corn, hiding prayer beneath her blue sweatshirt, the whispers of farm against farm, conspiring to unzip Illinois? The same man who discovered margarine named his daughter after a white flower. In the south garden, bearing his name, the cows lose their legs in deep snow, eating down to the exhausted grass and the frozen lowing things that uphold it. In this, we find our can openers and turn the heat so high, the air filling with such expectation it could be the new year.