Poems in Winter

What is it about winter that sends me rushing for a piece of paper and pen, breathless with the start of a new poem? During this season, I feel in tune with the sun and stars, enlivened by the air. Space becomes three dimensional, rather than simply what resides within my field of vision. Air can crackle. Water can expand and snap, fall and float–an array of acrobatics! Yesterday, I heard droplets of melting frost trickling down the insides of thick, hollow, bear grass stems. Inside! It reminded me of passing through a field of wildflowers, startling colony after colony of grasshoppers. But here the drip-drop sounds echoed through the cool air, rather than plunking back down to the ground. I leaned in. Listened some more. Indeed–I could hear the water inside–water that had been nothing, merely air, just hours before. Then frost. Then droplets. Now sound. Miraculous!

I cherish these quiet, inward months. The way light bends through the deciduous forest–always a marvel to this Pacific Northwest native. The way the deer grow bold, stretching the minutes of dawn and dusk to get their fill of stems, buds, what more the quiet earth gives. Even the way the roads freeze, creeks icing their way across the ruts; a reminder that there’s always more they can take. That even after all the pavement and culverts and flood insurance, humanity is still quite permeable and impermanent. Still quite brittle. Still just as likely to snap off, to tumble down, to rest eternally in nature’s bed.

All that being said, maybe I love the cold so much because it gives me an excuse for this…

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