Death and Winter

The middle of February is the deadest time of the year.

Most years those of us living in temperate continental climates have been slogging through cold and slush for two months and have four, six or more weeks left of it. Even the most stubborn trees have been stripped of their leaves and there are few signs of life – animal or plant –  on the land.

It’s difficult to stand in a forest or garden with the wind gnawing through your coat and remember that in a few months the sun will grow stronger and flowers will once again peek through the soil.

But it will.

This is the time of year when death is on my mind the most. Not in a depressed  or anxious sort of way, understand, but just the realization that all of us have a beginning, middle and end.

It also reminds me of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Low-Tide”:

 These wet rocks where the tide has been,
Barnacled white and weeded brown
And slimed beneath to a beautiful green,
These wet rocks where the tide went down
Will show again when the tide is high
Faint and perilous, far from shore,
No place to dream, but a place to die,–
The bottom of the sea once more.
There was a child that wandered through
A giant’s empty house all day,–
House full of wonderful things and new,
But no fit place for a child to play.

High tide, low tide, death, life, winter, summer. Nothing is constant but there is a pattern to it all.

Now to hunker down and wait for spring!


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