A few watchtower irises have just arrived but already encountered sustained seasonal storms. Their stalks have not bowed. Their falls are unencumbered, fluttering freely. They contain storms’ residue into discrete pearls which gather on saffron signals atop their purple petals. Through different angles they glitter and refract the riot around them when the sun comes out again.
It is no mystery which one reminds me of my husband, whose Mother’s Day gift to me this year is the seasons’ subtle rhythms.
I clearly was the daffodil for quite some time, but I think I’m making some progress through the tulip stage, perhaps someday to be in companionable peace among my fellow post-storm wanderers.
I know, I know: it couldn’t be much more wintry in New England.
It’s a balmy -6 degrees, enhanced by an order of magnitude for those who dally with windchill. Boston had its highest recorded tide, sweeping an icy gray lagoon into waterfront streets.
My big boy beagle gazes at me with recrimination when I am compelled to turn around and whisk him back toward home. He clearly has places to be, but unknowingly relies upon my limited capacity to exhibit adult common sense. My less than-scientific measure of when I have ventured half as far as we safely can go is the loss of sensation in triple-gloved hands. The outermost layer belonged to Jim: enormous blue-green knitted wool gloves into which Rufus still pauses to press his snow-dusted nose, retrieving scents of his puppyhood. I am violently allergic to wool. Angry winter welts encircle my right wrist, which one over-sized glove accidentally touched as I struggled to shovel a path through blizzard remnants.
Even my camera is too cold to do its job. I dare not risk its delicate inner mechanisms’ life for a picture–even of wavering sea-smoke etched in bright gold across the horizon, or planes of dazzling white which migrate across eye-level snowdrifts, or tree branches encased in ice glittering under a super moon.
Other than at sunrise and sunset, which in winter tend to take place during work days, when they rarely can both be seen, bright color has disappeared from the landscape. It may visit in the form of a scarlet cardinal or blue jay, or a burst of berries holding fast for them to find.
My city’s still breathing (but barely, it’s true) Through buildings gone missing like teeth The sidewalks are watching me think about you, Sparkled with broken glass I’m back with scars to show. Back with the streets I know Will never take me anywhere but here
My status could be the answer to a riddle: I occupy a new old home in my old home state, having left our old old home in a new home state.
But I am back with streets I know. In a place I never before lived, I feel I am back home.
Wait for the year to drown Spring forward, fall back down I’m trying not to wonder where you are
One daughter came to my new old home for Christmas, bearing a discrete tattoo she explained to me is based on Slaughterhouse Five.
Spring forward, fall back. I realized it’s not just a handy trick to set clocks to mark time in the seasons that bookend winter’s essence, but a Tralfamadorian progression through life–including waxing and waning grief and hope. A (Billy) Pilgrim’s progress, if you will (HT Mr. Vonnegut).
I shall try to seize on those glimmers, bright traces which foretell spring or commemorate fall, even when blanketed by colorlessness–the orange fish which glided underneath inches of pond ice as we skated at the old home we shared, the leaf whose lime stem tilted toward the sun as if it still could absorb light when my beagle’s front paw sank ever-so-slightly into a frozen puddle’s surface, leaving in uneven colonial bricks’ lacuna a ghostly misshapen cameo, a reminder of our presence there made possible by a New England winter.
When the sky is cloudless, the sun begins to peek above the tree line and lights the sculpted monochromatic red-brown forms as if they were candles. They glow with fire. A strand of spiderweb makes itself known only by razor-edged silver reflection.
Sometimes an entire city turns gold in the rising sun. A full moon can turn a clear block of ice into silver or gold, or hover like a ghostly galleon in a tumult of waves rendered in cumulus clouds. Just a hint of sunlight can turn water into shimmery rose, or sort gray air into a rainbow. At high noon, flowers seem to be posing in a professional studio, casting everything beyond them into an illusion of pure black.
The most amazing tricks of light do not arise from the interloping sun or moon, but seem to emerge from within: impossibly dazzling, unwavering beacons even in a deluge of rain.
A gathering Nor’easter announced itself in enveloping unsettling gray, a shadow that abruptly settled over the landscape. It swallowed the sun before it could emerge in a sliver on the horizon. It nullified the morning.
Eventually light tiptoes back in, almost always defined by shadow. Today dollops of sunlight made their way through tree cover and splashed on the icy blue-gray sheen atop a foot-and-a-half of fresh snow. Bright oblong dots formed a jaunty path, as if to guide an unseen deer.
Away from the woods, among abiding dunes, high winds transformed snow into gentle waves cross-hatched with exquisite etchings of sea-grass shadows.