Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Last of the Winter’s Whine

Everywhere snow,
gathered into sloping drifts about the walls and fences,

and, beneath the snow, the frozen ground,
and men are compelled to deposit the summer’s provision
in burrows in the earth like the ground squirrel.

Many creatures, daunted by the prospect,
migrated in the fall,
but man remains and walks over the frozen snow-crust
and over the stiffened rivers and ponds,
and draws now upon his summer store.

Life is reduced to its lowest terms.
There is no home for you now,
in this freezing wind,
but in that shelter which you prepared in the summer.
You steer straight across the fields to that in season.
I can with difficulty tell when I am over the river.

There is a similar crust over my heart.

Where I rambled in the summer and gathered flowers
and rested on the grass by the brook-side in the shade,
now no grass
nor flowers,

no brook
nor shade,
but cold, unvaried snow,
stretching mile after mile,
and no place to sit.

   HDT Journal, February 19, 1852

This February has proved to me
that you can still develop a bad case of Cabin Fever,
even if you spend as much of your free time outdoors as possible.
The month of November was Thoreau’s “Eat-Heart” time, but for me,
that time is February.
(from the sound of the Journal excerpt above, it sounds like things were getting to our intrepid Henry at this time of year, as well. )
So humor me whilst I let out this long-simmering rant, and bid a fond farewell to February !

Oh, in the early part of the month, we were favored with a few more small sprinklings of fresh snow –
whereupon we scurried out on our snowshoes, going nowhere in particular –
Those happy mornings, with bright sunshine gleaming off the new snow, seem far away now.

By mid-month, the snow got old,
and rained-on,
and crusty,
then rained-on again,

And the endless grey blanket of clouds parted only enough
to let a gust of icy wind through the gap,
wind that would persuade you back into your burrow,
until sitting on the couch, finishing a book I started six months ago,
seemed a much much better idea.

Alas ! I am hard-pressed to find even the tiniest bits of color to liven up my photos … in reviewing them, I see an endless slideshow of brown and grey days.

In the midst of my foul mood, I realize
that the sparks of warmth that gets one through it all
come not from the sun, but from family and friends.
And Life quietly goes on despite the cold, biding its time.
There’s a reason February is the shortest month –
any longer, and we just couldn’t stand it  !

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