Driving home from St Paul the end of last week, my companion and I spotted three sandhill cranes in the sky. We wondered if they had wintered here or were they returning from warmer climes? Was this a sign of winter melting into spring? My companion, a passionate and proficient gardener hopes so, but I am not ready yet to let go of winter, and thanks to today's snowstorm, I can enjoy winter's pleasures a bit longer.
Entering the month of March, that transitional month to spring, I think about what I have not done these winter months: the boxes of photographs untouched and unorganized, the piles of books unread, the stews and other slow cooker recipes not made, the naps not taken, the days of not leaving the house and instead lingering in pajamas unspent, and the fires in the fireplace not built.
One more winter, in spite of today's fresh inches of snow, is in fact coming to an end. How many more winters will I be blessed? What in my life comes to an end with this winter? I recall someone saying that every year we pass the anniversary of our death. We just don't know what that date is yet. Will mine be in winter?
Recently, my husband and I drove some country roads we had not explored before. The white on white carried our eyes out over the valleys. The bareness of the trees revealed farmhouses normally hidden in summer's fullness, and we marveled at modern homes, normally private and unnoticed, reminding us of the rich architectural heritage of this area. Hills with their tall straight, dark and undecorated trees reminded me of porcupine quills. Turkeys in parade formation trudged through the shiny unbroken snow, and hawks judged the proceedings. Beauty all around.
There is a certain clarity that comes with winter, a clarity I would like to discover in my own season of life. One can see forever, or at least it seems that way. And yet, we can't quite see how or when exactly it will end. Winter asks us to let go of the need to know for sure. Winter reminds us to rest in the surprise of the present moment. Winter assures us that it will melt into another time, but in its own time. Not ours.