I stayed home last night; missed several parties, missed toasting with jolly friends. A head cold has been slinking ‘round the door for a few days (probably a few weeks), and by Midnight it’d overtaken me. I didn’t have any the past two winters, but I’ve been burning candles at both ends lately, so I can’t be too surprised or upset.
Despite feeling poorly, it’s not a bad thing to cross the threshold of a new year quietly and in solitude. I did this little drawing to mark the changing of the guard. (I added the snow on a whim, though clearly those aren’t winter trees, all clad in leaves.)
I’d hoped for a cold-bright wander on New Year’s Day, but that’ll have to wait for better health. Glad tidings, with a few sniffles! I’ll see what I can make of it. More drawing, whether for me or my freelance project, will make a fine start of things for 2018.
Returned from the snow farm for the last few days of the year’s closing book. Serene here, too— quiet and white-blanketed. Few people are on the sidewalks, chilled and brittle. The emptiness of the playground today: a witness to the mercury, its height diminished despite bright sun.
And here we meet our fabricated bookends for time, believing we can hold or control it; we note it and name it to preserve the illusion. All is change, even the end of things, like the dying year to be replaced or born anew this midnight. Supplanted by new hopes, optimism in the dark corner of the year. Rebirth, Springtide: a crocus fighting her way up through a crust of snow.
Her bloom and demise are written in the maths that make her. Only we personify it, make a mirror of her. We with our imagined souls are infinitely fragile. So we make of her a beacon.
We’ll wait for her in the darkness yet to come. We’ll look for her as we burn through the woodpile, stacked under the eaves last fall. And as we watch the icicles melt, painting the days toothless, mild, and green again.
*from the poem ”To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin
It’s double-quilt weather and icy lashes weather as the wind stings saltwater rills from our eyes. Shoulders hunched, we retreat into our hoods like sheltering caves.
Convolutions and subtext slip away like shingles from a roof during high winds. Faced with the elemental force of cold, our needs simplify. Just as hunger renders food delicious merely by filling a need, warmth does same after a spell of shivers; muscles convulsing in their toil of keeping the blood from slowing in our veins.
The simplification is good. Makes us thankful for the ease of milder days. Which at length leads to contemplation; to philosophical meanderings and resolutions. We will never take anything for granted again!
But we tend to be creatures of reaction more than of action. So, always the ebb and flow: seasons without, seasons within.
We will be relieved when the plumbing returns. In the meantime, we recognize the relative ease of most days. We hope the pipes hold and do not burst. And we wait for things to thaw, to soften even a little, in their intensity.
The barn cats, huddled and hungry, have not ventured forth to beg in the dooryard today. The stalwart horses, shaggy in their winter coats and snugged in blankets, have chosen to remain in the shelter of their run-in stalls— those hard-wired grazers who prefer to spend days in search of remaining blades of green beneath the snow.
Even Wolf, of Siberian ancestry —built for the inhospitable, the brittle— ventured out in the morning, but resigned to coil himself in a windless corner of the porch rather than roam the fields as he usually does..
The frost is holding fast. The cold, recently settled in, is absolute. So too the clear blue of the cloudless sky. Not a single drip today from an earlier day’s sun-melt row of icicle teeth. Not even at noon on the south-facing eaves.
The trees and shrubs appeared to have sprouted from a vast eiderdown quilt that settled over the viewable acreage overnight.
Happy Winter Holidays and snow days for all who enjoy that sort of thing!
Sorry I missed yesterday’s post deadline. Here is one from the archives for December first. Car in Snow.
After the crash, we float like ghosts, moving about the old main street unnoticed and silently marveling at the high pitched roofs and tall windows of these old houses, taking in the glow of warm light of the interiors. The long incandescent puddles projecting out through the panes onto the thick blanket of silencing snow create such contrast, we half expect them to melt it. But they don’t.
We don’t feel cold but assume we must be, knowing that we can’t cross the thresholds of these sanctuaries against the night.