Even here in the blue-shadowed gorge, the creek breaks free from its wintry bonds. You can hear blocks of ice cracking and falling away all up and down the stream. The chunks float on the black water like freighters heading for the sea.
Time has a way of doing things in the right order. It knows when to lengthen the light, when to call the birds to the northern climes. It choreographs the emergence and disappearance of all things in its perfect dance of moments. Even you. Even me.
Look how the stretches of snow float above its sleeping grasses. Listen to the way it holds the calls of the returning geese, to the way they roll down the dark hills at its edges.
It’s almost like listening to the song of your heart leaping up to usher in spring, isn’t it?
It’s not like one of those “Where’s Waldo?” pictures where, if you look long enough and hard enough you’ll find him. No. The deer do not simply blend; they disappear. I saw them do it. I’ve seen it before.
They crossed the road in front of my car and bounded up the bank of the hill. I watched them stop behind the first row of trees, and that’s when it happened. They stood so absolutely still that the air absorbed them.
So here is winter in its last days, giving way to the sun that, hour by hour, creeps nearer with its warmth. Last year’s leaves, the memories of snow, the hard ice all slide now into the depths of time past.
The frozen air pretends that winter still has the upper hand. Yet it, too, holds the hints of imminent springtime. Beneath its cold a new fragrance dances, subtle and whispering its promise.
A few ragtag snowflakes fall like worn clichés across the morning’s new page. Against the sky itself, wooly clouds draw a dappled image of a snowfall, as if a rendering is the best the day can offer. We gladly settle for that, for the illusion of snow.
Seen from below, it’s quite lovely, all puffy and light and shimmering in the sunrise. And best of all, our shovels can stand unused, waiting for another day.
Snarl as you will, March, as you pull your fast, thick clouds across our skies. Your tenderness betrays you. The softness of your breath whispers “Lamb,” and your gentle warmth wraps around our skin like new wool.
On the other side of this scudding gray, sunlight races toward us. Bring your snow. We know now that crocuses are waking within your thawing soil.
Over the edge of the world, the white lion crouches, ready to bring in March with its roar. But we are not afraid. We have watched its kind rage through these woods before. Its might no longer impresses us.
And on this last day of February, we see the earth bathed in the warm light of the sun and the trees drinking it in. And we know that before March is done, this light will have transformed the lion into the lamb.
All throughout the winter, the stem of dried hydrangea blossoms sat in its small blue vase on the corner of the window sill. It was a token that she had brought in last fall as a reminder of the year’s flowered days.
Often it went unnoticed, disappearing into the familiar array of decorations that joined it on the sill.
But today, as winter’s frigid winds blew yet more snow past her window, it caught her eye. And the sight of it brought a soft smile to her face and hope to her heart.
“As if you were on fire from within.
The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”
― Pablo Neruda
She feasts on moonlight. It is moonlight that feeds her soul. That, and the winter’s snows, and pure songs from the hearts of new lovers. She distills their essence and turns it into a poem of spreading limbs, of white, reaching branches.
And in the summer, her broad leaves cool the children who lie on the grass gazing up at her beauty. And she takes the sweetness of their sighs and laughter into herself and adds it to her own song.
And when the night comes, she gathers the evensong of birds and the sky’s gift of starlight and she blends them with the moonbeams, and the wine of it feeds her soul.