As a winter storm bears down on the Texas Panhandle in December, 2004, Willa Jackson embarks on a plan to maintain her independence and fully realize her artistic talent. Her first encounter on this course, with her daughter, Melanie Banks, proves that accomplishing those ends as she ages past her present seventy-four years will be fraught with obstacles. Melanie’s determined to take care of her mother although she has her hands full navigating her own problems with a demanding job as a school administrator and her secret affair with the ex-husband she divorced ten years ago. Willa’s past and that of Jackson’s Pond, Texas, the dying town named for their ranch, provide a backdrop for the long-widowed Willa’s determination to set a course of progress for her grandson, Chris, and her granddaughter, Claire, and their families to secure their future. Meanwhile Jackson’s Pond, Texas and the ranch waterhole for which it is named decline steadily as the Ogallala Aquifer depletes. Willa overcomes resistance from several directions, including from her own doubts, and emerges by 2013 into a new life as a prize-winning painter living in Taos, NM, even in the face of advancing age and a degenerative illness.