We are waiting.
It is the time of dry bone-rattles of wind gusting through leafless branches, grey bark stretched tight and cold. The river near my house roils at flood stage (Upstream they have lowered the damsin preparation) as it tumbles in a chill swift race to the Great Lake that will devour it. Meadows and fields fade and lose their colour. The land becomes a complex, sharp monotone. The Earth turns her cold northern shoulder to the sun, which sets earlier each day, as we rush towards Grianstad an Gheimhridh– The Solstace- that darkest of days.
The canoes are put away. A person could lose something … ember, spark, fire. We could stand in the chill twilight (earlier, always earlier) and stop reaching. Turn inward. Hibernate.
But we don’t. We don’t because soon…. the light will return. The light will return and with it…. incongruously, the cold will come. The cold will come, and the frost some mornings will annoint the trees with silver. Light will colour the bare branches rose and white. And snow will come. Not like it once did…the pole-high drifts so common in our youth seem gone here now…but enough. Enough.
The waiting will have ended, and the blinding sun-drencheddays and breath catching star-cold nights of true winter will have arrived. We will scan the weather forecasts, and plan. From dusty dark closets come the snowshoes and pulks, the canvas and wool. Cross country skies. Mukluks and moose hide mitts.
We are waiting… for now. But not for long.