Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Branches are as bare as they're going to get and new growth is weeks away. I can see the river through green-furred skeleton arms. Singers in the bird choir are still winter wren and flicker, nuthatch and chickadee, kinglet and junco.
Air is cold, moist and gray, somehow gray even when the sun shines. A still, quiet gray; breathless, waiting.
River runs strong and clear - liquid jade revealing smooth stones. Often freezing on Toby's fur after an exuberant swim, becoming glittery diamonds adorning his broad chest.
There is a surprising amount of green everywhere: moss and sword fern that thrive in these exact conditions. Cold and damp - a time when not much else moves, let alone grows into newness. Green glowing the brightest on the grayest of days, somehow creating light out of the shadows. Looking dusty and almost invisible in the half-hearted light of winter's sun.
It's hard not to think about what's missing, what the spring will bring soon enough. It's hard to breathe air that holds not one kiss of warmth and to allow the cleansing cold all the way in. It's hard to love winter green when a heart longs for just one moment spent lying in sweet summer grass.
Memories stored away throughout the summer to pull out at such times are faded like fir branches in lifeless light, offering no more satisfaction than shiny magazine pictures of tropical places where people romp without care at the edge of the ocean.
I walk and breathe and search - eyes ready to catch the first violet, ears ready to hear the first robin song, shoulders ready to feel the soft comfort of a sun whose power is returned. Winter green within and without, holding me still in a life that feels stripped of all but shadows, skeletons, and gray waiting; that also promises spring will arrive at exactly the right time.