Saturday, January 21, 2012
Coming around the corner of the trail, the place where I often see eagles in the snag on the other side, I looked up. The river roared past, surging over banks and swamping the trail just ahead. No eagles on this day, but the power of the sweeping flood made me stop in awe. Movement upstream caught my eye. Before the object fully registered, my brain assumed log. It took a second or two for the inner tube to come into focus.
Orca black, bulging at one end, racing merrily along the surface of winter-swollen waters. A summer memory refusing to submit. I could almost hear a yee-haw, almost see a child's glee-filled face and scabby knees, almost feel hot rubber against sun-stung thighs.
I tend to forget from year to year how challenging January and February are for me. No holidays to distract. Cold gray wet days that even increasing minutes of light don't ameliorate. All the sunshine memories I managed to store away during summer months grown dusty and lifeless, too far in the past to warm anything.
To make matters worse, I didn't get nearly enough internal bits of summer squirreled away this year. As though this were a famine and drought year. For me, in many ways, it was. And now I'm tired in whole new definitions of the word. I can't get warm no matter what I do. My spirit feels hypothermic.
Eagles visit often. Earlier this week, one flew by the restaurant window where we ate breakfast. Catkins hang in abundance from delicate hazel fingers. Robin chirps slice through frosted air. Small offerings of hope, promises of change, that I want to embrace. And can't quite.
Snow dresses naked trees in beautiful furs, chases gray to the edges of awareness, turns air into healing medicine. I see it, get it, but feel only restriction which I resist, and the brittle cold which I resent.
But there's something about that inner tube. Steady in the frantic frigid current. Barreling along not caring a whit what season the river is, because it is summer. I can, even days later, imagine myself riding it beyond the limits of the river, right out of winter and back into sunshine and freedom. I hold on, to the fat circle and to the hope of the softer, slower, warmer river of summer it came from and rushes back toward.