Merry Winter

There is a time, shortly after the first snowfall, akin to heaven.

The trees sparkle, powdered over like so many evergreen confections; the browned grass is renewed as a lambswool carpet; every stalk and weed becomes a brilliant scepter, splendid and glistening.

I love winter.

But so much depends upon your perspective.

When I lived in the city of Cleveland, I had much less fondness for the dreary season. Cleveland is just north enough to be in the snow-belt, but just south enough to remain at the point of ever-almost-frozen. Freeze and thaw destroys the roads, and snow everywhere becomes crusted over in street-soot, crouching on corners like creosote obelisks. Given the shifting temperature, ice is a constant problem. Parking lots fill with great gray mountains, gutters fill with slush and muck. In Cleveland, winter is wet; it is icy; it is spoiled. Autumn can be glorious there (and elsewhere in Ohio), but when winter’s gray at last descends, it hardly lifts at all until spring.

But it is different here in Minnesota.

When I woke this morning, the dawn was breaking over the eastern bluffs of the Mississippi. A pink light filtered along the horizon, stretching even to the north and west, where clouds were clinging. From my south-facing window, it was a strange sight: as the sun (which I could not see) burst above the treeline, it sent a shaft of light straight across the town below. It lit the sandstone of my window well, painting it yellow-gold, and it did the same to the rooftops opposite me, and to the tips of the barren trees. Behind all of that was the pink stripe of horizon, and behind that, rolling snow clouds, heavy with the promise of sweet white flakes.

The bluff, the trees, the sleeping town–the church, the steeple, the river: I looked on these things with wonder, and it was a merry sight!

Merry Winter to all–and may your Christmas be white!

2 Replies to “Merry Winter”

    1. Thank you–I actually get quite depressed when it melts. Since moving here for my work (I am a professor of literature and fiction writing), I took up cross-country skiing. My students get a kick out of that for some reason.

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