It’s still winter according to the calendar but snowy days have been few and far between here in Colorado. I need some cold days because my cookie recipes are stacking up but I can’t complain too much: cold weather makes me feel old and creaky. On really cold days, I entertain myself by thinking of seeking warmer climes but I’d miss winter.
I like snowy days. Every sound is muffled and the world is quieter, stiller, than usual. At least, I like them when I’m inside and warm. I remember one time when I wasn’t much of a fan of cold and winter.
My dad had taken a job as foreman on a ranch and moved us north. My brother and I were excited to be living on a ranch and were sure we’d each be able to have a horse. It was the dead of winter and, practically the moment we arrived, the pipes in the house froze. I don’t remember much of that time other than the bitter cold. I do remember being put to bed with so many blankets and coats I could barely move. I woke up on the third morning after our arrival to the sound of my mother packing our boxes and we were gone. That was the coldest I ever remember being and the shortest I ever lived in one place.
Usually though, I like snow. I like watching the flakes fall, I like the feeling of isolation. I used to like hiking in the snow, though I don’t do much of that now. All other sounds are muffled and the crunch of snow under my boots, the creaking of branches, and the occasional drop of snow to the ground all are inordinately loud. Even when with other people, hiking in the snow made me feel alone. I always felt more in touch with my own breath outdoors in the snow-perhaps the act of drawing the cold into my lungs-and even my thoughts seem to move more slowly.
I once tried to capture this feeling in poetry. I wrote the included poem for my English class while at University and it’s one of my earliest attempts at word painting. It’s been years but I remember my classmates liked it. I hope you’ll feel the same.
One With Winter
It was a moment I will always remember
I stepped out of the trees
And a magnificent sight lay before me
A fresh snowfall covered the meadow
Beautiful, unmarred, soft, covered in a thin shell
The light from the moon sparkled like diamonds
All around me was silence-no movement for miles
There was only the fog I created as I breathed.
The coldness of Winter was in the air
It caressed my face, my lips
Winter found a kindred spirit in me
It entered my skin, my blood, my bones
And we were one.
As Winter I felt such peace-such nothingness
I was the ice in the air and the snow expansive before me
Beautiful, still, cold
I let myself sink into the heart of Winter
Until I was becoming lost in the cold
And had to fight my way back to myself
I took care as I walked around the meadow
Reluctant to mar the beauty I had enjoyed.
I returned the next day
To see my snow covered meadow but the snow was no longer there
It had melted-submitted-to the loving warmth of the sun.
The featured photo on this post was taken at Wolf Creek by a friend/co-worker. My thanks to him for the loan.