Anyone who knows me knows I’m happiest when buried up to my earlobes in snow, luxuriating in the cold, pristine sparkles, the way others roast themselves on sandy beaches.
Softly falls the snow.
December and most of January were “dark days of my discontent” to paraphrase Steinbeck who paraphrased Shakespeare. “Dark” because the ground was brown and bare, the temperatures, moderate. Without crisp white snow, winter is worse than summer in my view.
Kathleen Everett’s blog, “The Course of our Seasons,” moves me. In her, I found someone whose thoughts echo my own. She published this January 16, 2016:
IT IS NOTHING REALLY
Trying to wrest my mood from the dark side,
I cling to the path
well-worn from years of mindless wandering.
that same heaviness plagues my heart,
rending my chest in two.
It is nothing really.
Just the dance on the edge of that cliff—
the one at times I find myself
teetering and scrabbling,
struggling to find firmer ground.
It is nothing really.
Though at this moment
it seems more like quicksand
or a rabbit hole
or a trap door
But is is nothing,
Kathleen’s poem can be interpreted several ways. When I’m down, I feel that heaviness, see the trap door. Drab, brown weather depresses me. It doesn’t help that my husband is slowly getting more forgetful, more confused, less himself.
Last week’s historic blizzard “Jonas” was a balm for me. Not so Peter. When we lived up north he enjoyed snow nearly as much as I did, well, except the years spring didn’t arrive until mid-May. We snowshoed, cross-country skied, hiked, moved snow and chopped monster icicles.
I’ve always loved to shovel snow, and Peter loved to scrape down to bare ground. When he finished, the edges of the driveway looked as if the snow had been chiseled away.
Jonas started about five a.m. By nine o’clock a mere four inches lay on the ground. I shoveled a path to the backyard for the dog.
Nobby loves snow too.
A cup of coffee later, I went out front to tackle the increasing depths. Peter wouldn’t be far behind, I thought. I made a walking path to the street, another along the sidewalk, a third from street to front door for the mailman. Still no Peter. No mailman either until Monday, though our newspaper lady delivered.
Peter finally emerged Saturday afternoon to scrape the paths I’d made. Sunday morning, glorious and sunny, I took on the rest of the driveway. Thankfully, the snow was like crystallized feathers. Peter got into his old routine. He scraped and sliced, swept and brushed. Together we attacked the icebergs the plows had shoved in our way.
Later, while he Skyped with a friend in England, I heard him say, “No, only a few inches…some places got more, but not here.”
The depth of my happiness was diminished.
Header caption: Barely icicles, cold splinters are no northern widow-makers.
“It is nothing really” Kathleen G. Everett ©2011-16
2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.