surrender to winter

Stepping ankle deep into freshly-fallen snow impedes my progress. But perhaps I need to slow down, take it all in, amid these thoughts of all-things-Calvin swirling around in my head like snowflakes in a squall. Dizzying, these ruminations on seizures, mania, drugs, and uncertain futures keep me up at night and nag me all day long.

Yesterday, however, was anything but a frenzy, trapped indoors with a mostly-happy and very huggy boy on this season's first snow day home from school. From just past dawn until nearly dinnertime, Calvin and I traipsed and flopped from sofa to table to bathroom shutters to bed and back again as the storm laid down its tiny white crystals, several inches in all. It was too wild, windy and frigid to brave the outdoors.

Today, though, everything is still. Clouds drift by nearly imperceptibly, beyond them peek patches of a soft blue backdrop. Bows laden with snow bob and sway with as little motion. As the sun works its way into the sky, blobs of snow drop from limbs and icicles drip diamonds which drill into the powder.

Winter is the time for dreams, when storms relegate us indoors, when the cold slows blood to molasses, when days are short and bedtimes early, when the low sun casts thin shadows over immaculate fields.

Where are we going? Who will we become? When will we be released? Will our days ahead by any easier? When and how might we succumb?

While at the fields, I ran into one of Michael's former photo students, Niles. He was taking pictures of snow and light, of colors faded in the mist of late morning. We embraced, talked of school and family, of his imminent travel to Paris and of speaking French. I urged him into the forest, where I'd seen sunlight eking through the tangle of branches. I had just emerged. He was headed there. Speaking to Niles about Calvin reminded me, thankfully, that these days are easier than olden ones.

It feels okay to surrender to winter. Here, there's really no escaping it. I remind myself to slow down. Step outside whenever possible. Muse on the falling flakes and the different paths they take. Contemplate the placement of shrubs, the whistle of a night train, the peachy feel of a loved one's cheek. Dream of last-minute trips to New York and of more seizure-free days. Embrace the chilly air, its crispness and ability to create starlit nights. Bask in the glow of a low sun casting shadows of living things otherwise gone unnoticed.