For me, the months of winter are a time we are constantly stunned by the beauty of white–that all the colors bundled together can be one, and brilliant at that. On that blanket of snow sparkle millions of prisms twinkling like stars fallen to lie bare on the breast of the earth.
It is a time of hushed beauty and self examination, the space we are given to check for cracks, and see if we want them sealed back up or if they instead should be widened, a rift in which to plant a seed.
I never liked the wording that describes Spring as the season that marks when Winter loses its grip. Gives way might be better, but even then, I like the cold months too much to see it as a battle in which Winter is losing. It is not a competition, a match in which the seasons engage; it is a dance, a turning, a call and response.
I like to think of Winter as the magician parting the curtains for Spring, his assistant. Spring arrives to assist in his show of transformation, of ice back into water. She is the revealing factor that whisks the cloth away to astound us that underneath snowy lakesides were in fact, hidden pebble beaches.
And then when it is fully Spring here in the north, it is a season of waiting for the opening of summer, the final act.
The ground has thawed and we are poised, ready to plant with one hand, and with the other, ready to pull up by the roots.
We spent this Spring biking out the road along Eklutna Lake’s shore.
It oscillates between a road–
(that is accessible on Sundays–Wednesdays to ATVs, and foot power on Thursdays–Saturdays),
and a narrower path that is only biking and walking permissive.
We biked out over the course of a few weeks to track the magic show’s curtain rise, which allowed us to be entertained by the theater of seasons.
As the lake turned from white, to opaque teal
And then from blurred to reflective.
The perfect analogy for how Winter allows us to see ourselves as we want to be and then Spring lets us gently see our real reflection.
The first few times we biked out three miles just past the cabin to what the kids dubbed Driftwood Beach.
And we spent some of those days noticing how time,
the lake, and weather
do soften and make art of these tree corpses.
Then on Mother’s Day, we biked out farther, to where the trail crosses Bold Creek.
Here the kids and a few of us explored and drank the sunlight.
A friend and I boiled hot dogs while I remarked how this must be the best possible way for children to be raised, in the palm of the natural world.
And in a world quarantined in fear, to live with such a low population that we need not worry about crowds.
And we both remarked how grateful we were for the friends that gathered us together,
and ushered us out into the world with children.
They say don’t take anything for granted. They say live today as if it were your last. They say be deliberate. They say the only thing that is constant is change. And we repeat these things when we think we need to reevaluate.
Well, I’m here to remind you that change is generally messy,
And sloppy as such that you sink and slip and stumble, enough to have to get off and walk.
But this is what the cyclical nature of seasons teaches us. That change is constant, that although the earth turns our faces towards the sun every morning, and the hours are counted in the same way as yesterday, we live anew, as ice turned to water, flows to the sea never to freeze the same way again. The stage is set, the curtain has risen. Who will I be in this renewed year, this year in which everything has changed and so much still seems a return?
Your writing is so poetic and describes the magic so well. You are so talented, Wendy! I love reading your stuff and seeing your adventures with your family!