When I was a little girl I remember heading out to play in the dark of winter all by myself. I breathed in that big starry night and made angels in virgin snow and crafted dreams while billowing heavy breath into the cold New England air.
And every year since I've danced in the first snows of fall. I watch the landscape get buried and then I dig out my Le Creuset. I boil stews and chilis and stir them with homemade wooden spoons like a witch over her cauldron. I feel a blanket cover my soul and I sink down in my couch and hibernate under the warmth of a wood fired stove.
I don't miss the open windows, free breezes that would blow the curtains if I had them, bugs. I don't mind the shortened days- night is when I seem to hear what my brain is trying to say anyway. I don't feel the loss of coyote calls or hooting owls in the night. I can't seem to get myself to regret not being able to swim with the leeches. I don't miss seeing my body or having to shave half of it. I don't feel any loss when winter comes drifting in under the door.
I love pulling out the hats, finding the mukluks, seeing if the Johnson Wool still fits. I crave the cozy and the way the stars seem to sparkle brighter, especially when there is no moon to hide their shine. I love when the pond freezes over and we walk on water. The smell of smoke in my hair and on my fingers after I start a fire. Waking up too hot under my down comforter. Wearing my bathrobe all day.
It's unfortunate that I feel a sense of loss when the snows melt. It always feels like it happens too quickly and that we need just a few more weeks of cold. I'm not ready for the arid breeze, the sound of the peepers, the smell of earthworms. I'm not ready for the mud to be tracked in on dog's feet, or kid's sand in the bathtub, or thunder storms leaving living, breathing, frightened detritus at the foot of my bed. Or to see the parts of my body that resemble a man.
I want to stay huddled and buried and beneath the weight of whiteness. And its quiet. And its solitude. And its cleanliness. And its crispness.
I realize this is all assbackward. I should be taking pictures of the forsythia blooming, rejoicing in the ability to breath in deeply the sweet scent of alpaca shit wafting up from the fields below us, planting lettuce in my workable dirt and eating the grit from underneath my fingernails. I know this.
And so I will try, I suppose, this year to go nose first into the ground, twisting unnaturally onto my back, and scratch my ass in the fresh grass like my dogs do. They wiggle themselves down hill until they can't slide anymore and then they get up to shake it all off. I think it works for them. However, I know they are a little sad too that winter is gone because they're the only ones out there with me in October when the first heavy snow flakes land on our noses. I just can't get them to stay on their backs long enough to make angels in the virgin snow.
I just can't help myself.