Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We wake up in darkness these days. Most of the time as we uncurl and uncover from the trappings of sleep, we are faced with heavy blankets of grey. We know dawn is upon us but not because we see its light.  Knowing things in your head does not always remind your heart.

Some days the dark grey lifts, and we search for the warmth of sun soaked summers from the other side of the window pane, careful not to touch the glass and remember the cold.

Stepping outside, we can no longer stay asleep, lungs flooded with the remnants of a frigid night and filled with the scent of snow and frozen ground. Every breath we take floats up to the sky, a smoke signal.
 "I am here."
 "I am alive."

Alive in a world of dead and dormant things.

It's as though we are driving across the pages of a vast sketchbook.  Shades of grey, shocks of white like a blank page before us.  The trees reach to the tops, laid bare, twisted and scratching at the sky.  Men in bright yellow coats and dingy work gloves make their way through rows of trees, sweeping the forest floor of the dead and dying. Bare becomes more barren, rows of trees like hospital hallways, and static.  Tidy little piles of limbs are assembled into half moons.

The river is iced over in some places, but the solid white fades to transparent panes where it thins.  The places the river runs, it is bold and brown, swollen with the melted snow and freezing rains.

We brace for the wind, careful to shield our flesh from the deep, immediate ache of cold on parts we dared expose.  Things are quieter now, the world heard through wool, felt through layers we've carefully put on.  Having nearly forgotten color, surrounded by silence, we paint the world red for a day, creating a flurry of sights, smells and sounds to distract from the dark that all too quickly ends our days. When our work is done, the darkness is already imminent.   We slip into the forest again.  Even as the tires tread smooth and silent, the scent of smoke seeps in.

The grey curls around the trunks of the trees, but the bright orange petals of a bonfire in full bloom are nowhere to be found.  Instead, the forest floor flickers with the subtle glow of a candle behind lantern glass. The world burns slowly, almost imperceptibly.

February fades as flames burn out.  Ashes run with the river, meeting the first of the unfrozen ground.  Life begins again.

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