I entered February with a heavy heart. Things were happening that were beyond my control. These things were beyond your control. They weren’t even things, really. It was just one thing, one quiet thing, marching slowly but obviously, out of my control. It was January and it turned to February, and soon it’ll turn to March. Marching through March, like the meme or the poster or like nothing at all. April comes next. Rainy April, with showers and following flowers, May. Soon they’ll all be here and the piers will be in and the sun will be on my face, on yours. It’ll be summer and we’ll laugh and splash and things will be different. They won’t be better.
That’s because it’s winter in Wisconsin, and it’s winter that I’m worried about missing. January turned to February and I couldn’t do a single thing about it. I stacked my oak high and I turned my thermostat higher, to 68 sometimes when I’m feeling a chill. The Facebook is full of summertime wishes, of warm tropical beaches. Did you know a palm tree saw its shadow and now there will be six more weeks of paradise? How proposterous. I don’t even know what the woodchuck, or the hedgehog or the badger saw. A shadow? I saw mine, does that count? Do I get to decide this thing called winter and the leaking towards spring? If it was my choice I’d vote winter. In my old age I’m not wishing for summer, I’m relishing winter.
And why wouldn’t I? My house is warm and my car prepared. My jackets have liners, cotton or down. A bald eagle just flew over my office on his way to the lake where the arctic birds flock. Dinner, it’s calling. And so is my house and the firewood and the fireplace and a college basketball game, the outcome of which I couldn’t care less. It’s dark now, but it’s lighter than it once was. Soon I’ll be driving home in the sunshine, and soon I’ll have to tend to my lawn and edge the beds where my summer flowers now lie deceivingly still. They’ll be alive soon, sprouting and shooting and thriving. How I wish they’d lie still just a bit longer.
Rush through winter if you must. Hurry up for the summer sun if you cannot find your wintery peace. As for me, I delight in these days. In the chill on my toes and the fire in my hearth. I soak in the low dim sun, wishing for a few more weeks of it. The snow piles, finally, and I welcome it. Pile higher, please snow. There will be time enough for summer. Time for the sun and time for the water. Time to fish and time to lounge under a shade tree while the waves lap. But for now, it’s time to be still. Time to enjoy the scene. To appreciate the snow and the crisp and the calm. It’s winter, still, and I’m glad.