In the Not-so Bleak Midwinter
Yes, dear friends, I know. Winter only officially begins with the Solstice at 2:44 am PST on the 21st. But designations-of-humanoids be damned; for Nature – she of supreme power and she of coquettish fun – has just jumped behind the wheel of an Arctic sedan for a crazy, fishtailing ride. Whee! she lets out, and crosses the wheels again. Meanwhile we sit in the back seat with clenched teeth, at once terrified and thrilled. But give it a minute, and the terror weakens. The schlop schlop across the Brookbank Farm wetlands is now the crunch of a sparkling carpet underfoot. I stoop down. Such an infinity of crystalline patterns! The squadrons of dragonflies that once danced on the surface of Elios pond have metamorphosed into snowflakes now, gamboling this way and that across the frozen water. New heralds of the world as undulations! And there is no sound but the pillowy quiet that only snow can make. And the thrill strengthens. Then like a gift, the Mysteries – the invisible powers of Earth, wind, fire, breath, and Providence – momentarily lift their veil. And I stop, grateful that I dismissed the soulish whimper of the ex-pat Californian within me and instead climbed into my thermals, plugged a toque on my head, and went out to the land.
I will take it all in, just now, for the severe beauty of it, and for the epiphany that is a soul’s banquet. For when will I next walk this farm with nothing to plant, to weed, to harvest, to build, with nothing to do but to relish its nothing-to-do-ness? And when will I next see a mystery, and see my breath float dreamily away?