This year, I embrace the arrival of winter in a new way…by observing it. I’m not dreading it or longing for it, just noticing it, right before my eyes. Winter’s the thing I step into when I leave the people house for the hen house. Vermonters are made for winter. We thrill to the dark (and the snow and the cold) and start talking about it long before it descends. We love the drama and hazards of winter.
The greyness of imposed solitude, the reverberation allowed rocks and stones when green rests, and the craving for potage on the plate creates a venue for simmering possibility.
Easy. It’s only December 8th and we’ve had temperatures in Marlboro that mimic my home town in Pennsylvania. I’m already letting go the fact that by February I’ll be hounding cheap flights to blue water and bright cocktails. I know that clenched by my addiction to real estate porn I’ll scour websites for beach houses in North Carolina through mud season.
The house air will cloy my nostrils, scrape my throat, and bludgeon my brain cells.
See, I’m doing it, talking about it before it happens. I question how ready am I, really, to embrace this new way into the next four months?
People say that the answers are usually right in front of you if you’re willing to discover them. So this morning, I grab my camera to have a look at how the backyard landscape reflects my emotional preparation.
The wreath decorates the hen house, but the window slants open. Eight inches of nitrogen-rich summer dung bowls me over when I fill the watering can. The layers beg an overdue change-out for fresh pine chips.
Furniture flaunts summer under snow on the deck, reminding me of older ladies who wear clothes from the junior department. Go for it, I say. Why the hell not? But still, I sense some reaching in my not stowing the chairs away or bringing in the flowerpot that holds our clothespins.
There are other signs of ambivalence as well: container gardening pots gathered and emptied still flank the screen porch; tomato cages stacked in tidy rows linger near the truck headed for the barn.
The wood pile is up, but the kindling is down. A metaphor in my midst. What will fuel my winter fire?
I step inside for the answers, turn to my shelves where I’m sure to find comfort. I look for titles about winter, and plots that involve dark, cold places.
I may as well wallow and conspire, not try to count the days until the word islands and sun splay the spines of my stack.