A hoarfrost covered our yard this morning and I’ve been resisting the temptation all day to feel morose. Winter has become harder. I associate it with loss and illness, even though I have had neither in more than six years.Winter is the piling on of layers, feeling overstuffed and clumsy, my leather satchel and backpack bag sliding off puffy shoulders. Less freedom in dressing, restricted to pants, sweaters, boots. A reluctance to walk in the woods, and the unavoidable post-nasal drip that freezes above my lip. My eyes water. All but the tall grasses, now brown, will stand above the snow in my gardens.
Yet I also feel a strange, ethereal connection to snow and landscapes where the edge of the world and the edge of the atmosphere blur together in a gray mist. The vast flat fields of dried corn stalks poking out of the snow, breaking the certitude of blowing drifts. This austere land, this quiet danger should you be stranded along an empty road while behind you, unseen, a deer snorts, stamps its hoof, dares you to come closer.
It could be magical. I think of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, how the White Witch rules for decades, turning Narnia into snow, frost, ice. The talking faun and beavers, the stone statues that come to life—all saved by the Christ-like lion Aslan who dies and then breathes again. It could be like the cinematic beauty of the Coen brothers’ Fargo: silent, high drifts of snow across a plain. It could be the snow tunnels we made as children or the bunny print I found last winter. It could sparkle in sunlight. It could turn blue in the dusk.
I am trying to keep myself open to such things. Remembering my rubber boots with the figure eight straps, heavy in the snow, thinking, It is all so deep and beautiful and everywhere, at six years old.