The Mysteries of Winter

As spring reaches its spindly limbs into milder weather, the nature of my daily walks has changed. In winter, the activity feels grave and lonely: the dark and cold muffle traffic sounds and I meet only one or two avid dog walkers on each venture.

But now the sky welcomes us with a friendly breeze and the neighbors sit on their steps to watch their children ride bicycles or draw with sidewalk chalk.

Twice a year–first in spring, and then again in the fall–I am forced to think about winter. I don’t think about winter when I am in winter. I can’t do it accurately. No, only right after and right before that dormant season can I ask the questions that winter lights in my brain: How do so many manage through winter without embracing it, without opening their lives to snow angels and ice skating and shoveling the sidewalk? Somehow they learn to hibernate in small spaces, coming home always to the same armchair and winter comfort foods.

Even now I feel like I missed the whole season, dipping quickly in and out of doorways and cars, enduring the cold only long enough to fulfill my obligatory walk. I did catch glimpses of Winter, but she is such a mysterious woman; it is hard to truly know her. Summer is brazen–we all know him, and we remember him when he isn’t around. But Winter’s pale shimmering skin is too quickly dismissed at the turning of earth and sky.

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