Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the bleak mid-winter

In the bleak midwinter,
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

-Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)

Traveling over the salt-encrusted bridge to church this morning, I suffered pangs of longing. The Grasse River wound its way to my left and to my right, humming and dancing under sharp rifts of ice and snow. I shaded my eyes from the blinding sun and reminisced momentarily about my lazy summer.

“I want to take my kayak out on the river.” I announced plaintively.

“It’s not gonna happen,” states Friend # 12 with a laugh. “Not anytime soon.”

There’s no arguing with the stark reality of a North Country winter. Our cars cough and moan like fat bears waking from hibernation on these frigid mornings. Towns-people stomp their booted feet at stop-lights and then shuffle into coffee shops, heads down, like cows into barns. It’s hard to remember that deep under the iron ground, roots and seeds quiver—not with the sting of frost, but with the promise of spring deeply wrapped up in their tender cores. The simple therapy of mulling these facts over seems to brace my soul for the weeks ahead.

-Which brings me back to the thoughts of my bright green kayak, lying on its side in the barn. One promising day, not too far off, I will hoist it to the roof of my red PT Cruiser, fasten the straps securely to hood and trunk, and wend my way down to the river. After lugging it to the marshy bank, I will hear the slap of water under the bow, breathe the freshness of budding trees mixed with the smell of a thousand happy things recently loosened from winter’s grasp, and probably shout for joy a bit.

But in the meantime, I will long for glimpses of rivers and lakes, brooks and even rivulets because I know that each season doesn’t last forever.

Isn’t that thought just as comforting as a bowl of home-made soup on a winter’s afternoon?


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