Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moving On

The winter sky, blue and sunny and cold, seems enormous. It has returned, and no probing stare up into heights of glacial air will find any message there. Head held back, I find no sign that the contents of books will ever have something to say equal to that vastness.

That vastness shows me my size.

There are retreats that I have made in January, most starting on a Friday evening and going until Sunday morning. One in my early twenties lasted a month. I have tilted my head up toward a January sky in the middle of daytime walks and at the end of nighttime walks. There were sometimes stars, sometimes clouds, sometimes relentless sunshine that got me squinting.

It is January in New England, and I know not to be surprised if life comes to a standstill.

A snowstorm can be responsible. An arctic freeze. The three-day MLK weekend. A bout with the flu.

Any of these factors can briefly reinstate something like the holiday mood of late December. Life slows at points like the traffic on a snowy highway. What used to take thirty minutes of careful travel ends up needing at least forty-five.

Some years the brooks and ponds become walkways and skating rinks. The sounds of water in motion become muffled and blurred and eventually disappear.

Regular and unchanging, with no kindness in them but no malice either, winter days simply ask if you are ready to move on.


Ur-spo said...

I am very much for life coming to a standstill. I wish winter still had more power to force people to do this, rather than them plodding through it.

John said...

Snowbound even, Whittier-style!