Thursday, January 17, 2019

Winter's glory and misery

I was recently asked by one of the smallish humans what my favorite season is. After I responded with a resounding "Spring and then fall, and even some of summer but MOST definitely not winter", they queried me on the reason(s) for my preference. Upon reflection... 

Winter: when slumber (hibernation, dormancy) takes hold and a good portion of the outside world of creation rests. When storms hover and descend. When snow makes everything fresh, white, new and welcomes us to gallop about with our sleds in tow. When the cold outside beckons us to hot tea and great books by the fireplace. When our forest adventures all but come to a halt and every outdoor task becomes a chore as the cold crawls into our bones. It seems to be a time when sickness thrives. The sickness has been unbearably hard these past many weeks. During the week Kris was out of town Lochlan suffered through a stomach bug (a bug we all entertained in perfect domino fashion in the following days), followed by a grim case of Mesenteric Adenitis that plagued him for over 2 weeks. These weeks included 2 midnight ER visits where Lauren was my right hand (and probably the other half of my malfunctioning brain) through the 36 hour periods with no sleep. The day Lochlan started to improve (Christmas Day), Declan got the flu. I was so run down I quickly contracted it and almost ended up in the ER with a 104 temp. Though it took us nearly 3 weeks, all 6 of us are eeking our way back to health. 

Spring: is full of hope and life blossoming all about. It holds the remnants of winter and it's chill, but also the promise of summer with it's sunshine and warmth. I see spring every day in the hearts of my boys. They are filled with hope and their minds are ever blossoming, full of wonder. The creativity is in constant flow and the amount of energy they have to DO life doesn't actually seem possible. It's (well past) bedtime, but they have been writing me countless notes and drawing me pictures of baby octopuses, friendly monsters walking on clouds, happy (smiling) trees at the base of majestic mountains and even portraits of myself - or maybe a pig; the nose throws me off a bit, but I'm told it's me. 

Summer: gives all things a chance to grow. The blackberry bushes tentatively grow leaves, then slowly blossom and as the summer progresses they confidently start creating tiny green fruits and as summer begins to glimpse it's close the fruit becomes black and juicy and sweet. Summer also brings heat, sometimes drought, violent monsoon storms, as well as weeds and pesky insects. Summer gives us all time to explore the forests, creeks, meadows and mountains and I see my boys grow in strength and (physical, mental, even emotional) stature. I see their curiosity and wonder in all that is nature (the Creation) in it's abundance and their hunger to know (and be known) with a deeper understanding. As I watched Lochlan develop an understanding of his horse, and saw how that connection inspired him to try words on our jaunts along so many trails this summer, it made my heart merry. The day he is fully unlocked and able to share himself with all of us will be the best of every season in my heart.

Fall: where color fills the trees, the mornings are crisp and the evenings feel like they're holding their breath. The trails are covered with a carpet of golden leaves and we get fleeting glimpses of the forest creatures preparing for winter. When elk can be heard calling to one another and the wind whistles around us with a chill. A favorite coffee shop calls us to bring a great friend and conversation. When the mountains are sometimes sprinkled with the dusting of a first snow. Fall finishes the final brush strokes of the year's painting. It always reminds me of all that is extraordinary in the (mundane) life that is lived here and now, even as winter (in seasons and in life) hovers and promises change both welcome and unwelcome. 

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