Enchanted. That’s how I felt this morning when I stepped outside, bundled up almost beyond movement, into the icy cold air. A rime of ice covered every tree branch, each one etched like crystals against the cloudless blue sky. The sun illuminated minuscule ice crystals drifting through the air onto my head like fairy dust. I expected Tinker Bell to appear at any moment, waving her magic wand in front of my eyes. The dogs pulled restlessly at their leashes, their own noses to the ground, oblivious to the beauty overhead. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared heavenward, my mouth open in amazement, the air cold enough to freeze my lungs on every inhale. I wished I were a photographer, a painter, or a poet - to be able to capture this moment and do it justice, to preserve it in my memory for days when the endless gray of winter seem overbearing.
Lately I have been looking for a way in to write about this winter, this breaker-of-records winter, this worse-than-ever winter. I think back to our innocence last Thanksgiving, when the ground was still earth and not covered with mountains of snow. We had no idea what was ahead, how nature would get stuck in her endless loop of snow followed by cold followed by ice followed by snow. We couldn’t know that it would snow measurably every week starting the first week of December. That schools would reach their limit of allowable “snow days” almost before the new year began.
We didn’t know what was coming.
But that’s the thing. We never know what’s ahead.
I do not love winter. This year has been difficult, especially living in the condo. I must go outside every time the dogs go outside. I must shovel paths for them because their legs are short and they are small. I must do the grocery shopping and errands for my mother who is fearful of being out in the cold, fearful of falling, of getting sick. I must worry about driving on icy roads, about how I will get to these places I must go.
But still, and deep down, I have not minded overmuch. I come in from the cold and sit in front of the fire, a dog on either side, reading and warming my hands. I watch the birds flock to feeders all around the house, smile at them when they peek inside at me as if to say “thank you” for the sunflower seeds, thank you for the thistle and suet, before turning their tiny beaks back to their meal. I make coffee in my favorite cup, arrange bright flowers in a crystal vase. I listen to Horowitz play Chopin and Mozart, pieces I’ve listened to for more than 20 years, notes that have (clumsily) flowed from my own fingers on the keys.
I find enchantment today.
Because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
I wish this for you, that you might find something of beauty in your day today. May it be something left for you as a surprise, like tree branches alight with ice, or something you create for yourself within the pattern of your own daily life.
Find it. Savor it, slack jawed with gratitude.