January 15th, 2012
Winter on the Waketrail Road
A light snow falls, and the temperature too… from unseasonably mild to the bone-chiller more common here in the opens, away from the coast, away from the tall sentinel skyscrapers of the city, away from the protective foothills and the green-black against-white-background trees.
In Huron Township, when January takes a deep chill breath and then exhales, when the damp of the clouds lets loose with tiny flakes all individual frosty white and impeccably perfect as they land on the darkness of the navy wool pea coat, one moment the drive is nothing more than peaceful and pretty in a winter way, while a tenth of a mile on, there is no visibility as the open patch allows the flurry of snow to become a cloud, and I in the thick of it. And then once again, clarity and gently-landing tiny feathers of white.
Where the seasons bring perceptible change to our senses, winter can be a fickle lover ~ it courts us with a taste of its offerings, then doesn’t come calling for a time, leaving us wondering if the romance could truly be that short-lived, and then reappears at our door with all sorts of gifts ~ ornaments and snowflakes as large as a thumbnail and red woolen mittens and eggnog and cold winds that make our noses red and spiced apple cider and auld lang syne. And we are wooed by the flurry of snowy kisses and by the tender touches of joy in our hearts, and we are starry-eyed in love with the season.
One morning, you wake and there is a harsh note on the door … the air is so frosty it stings … you have to turn your face from the one you so loved the day before. Now its temper, bitterness and chill bite your cheeks and ears, and you must make a choice to vulnerably take it or leave it to its rant. In the warmth of your family, in the light of a crackling fire, with robust homemade potato soup on the range, you now take comfort and wait for winter’s storm to calm…when you can make up and embrace its loveliness as you did in the early stages and offer your own playful spirit in return. Together, you and winter dance once again to the music of the season, you make angels in the snow, and a walk through the field along the draw is sweet and welcome rather than brusque and cold.
The yin and yang of the seasons, and especially of winter, is reality on this plot of land; it’s felt in the heart as much as on the skin. It forms the earth of this place, the very soil that will begin to wake in the spring. Even now, in the bitter chill of this January night, the seeds of new life are waiting there. Cold and winter socks give way to gentle warmth and the robin’s song; they give way to 90 degrees and blue flip-flops; they give way to a laughing baby standing amidst bright orange pumpkins; who in turn gives way once again to the unique romance with winter, that love that we always come back to, though we say we’ve had enough, because it still is beautiful and good and makes our human hearts flutter at that first caressing snow.