It, in winter

winter hydrangea

The whiteness of snow simplifies and purifies the landscape, insulating tubers and bulbs from the full force of cold. It is the moisture we need, locked away in a transient beauty, a gorgeous paradox that kills and preserves.

It snows. The hydrangea that was a bouquet of soft pink in spring, stripped to a scraggled thatch of twigs, flocked with ice and snow. Winter returns. We knew it would; the shed is full of split fir,  shelves are stocked with carrots and canned peaches, the freezer with venison and pork. Rest. Reflection.

The driveway needs to be shoveled, the fire stoked–these are immediate needs that yield immediate pleasure. Simple things, easy to understand and do.

Sometimes, It turns brutally cold, reminding of danger. In It, we cannot so much as take a walk without preparation and protection. Our shelter is not merely convenient–it is necessary. We cannot pretend that being free and easy will be enough. Fantasy recedes.

Its days are short, passing quickly. The crab apple tree is heavy with unfallen fruit, drying and freezing, holding a bounty for robins who, gone vegetarian with hunger, will flock here in late winter. Patience. Perseverance.

The evenings are long, perfect for reading.

The stack of books that grew through the summer as I stayed busy–cutting and hammering, digging and planting, pruning and mowing, feasting and swimming–I sit with in silence.  Reality gathers, clouds on the windward front. Plato, Voegelin, Moses, Solzhenitsyn–voices always there that now take form, saying just how It is.

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