an ode to winter

Winter is old deaths and new lives. Winter lasts, and comes fast, awakening us with fresh bursts of earth's abiding presence. In the jolting chill of breath and a silence that feels full and piercing. A hollow wind between woven pines sweeping us up in a rush of adrenaline. The blood pulsing under our translucent skin like a river, the shallow warmth we cling to as we pinch our cheeks and burry our hands under breasts and flimsy wings. 

Winter touches something strange in us. A desire, perhaps, or a fear, or maybe a bit of both--combined over a blurry landscape of milky gray sky and short blades of dead grass prickling our ankles. We watch the sun burn rose and lavender over old towers made of bricks, and wonder, with intrepid longing, what's to come. 

Winter feeds us, enveloping us in safe places. The inside. We comb our wet hair sticking against our backs after steaming showers, watching our bodies rise and fall in the fogged mirror. We sit and wait. We wish. We turn pages in books and the noise echoes sharp in our tender ears. It is new worlds, and the names we take on for a time as we distract ourselves with escape. We grasp the muted melancholy of familiar voices, and distant laughter. There is a smell of cider heating on the stove, masking afternoon naps and dreams whispered under sheets. 

Winter cocoons us. At night when we are left with our thoughts, alone. Nimble hands knitting row after row of stitches that move across graceful stomachs. Wool brushes against our necks. New wrinkles form in the creases of our skin. The glow of soft lamps makes us squint our tired eyes. Music fills us, pushing us. Toes numb and exposed. Winter offers us a perspective of solitude amidst the bleak and bittersweet.

This winter feels like a girl in a fairytale who has to leave. This winter brings the end and the beginning, just like every winter. This time, it will awaken a different rebirth. Where from ashes come flames, striking out with eager licks of promise and fulfillment of a unknown kind. Winter gives something different this time. An innocence replaced with knowledge. Purpose. We cannot tell if it's a good one, or the right one. It is the inevitable, the force that cannot be stopped, as winter presses on with determination. 

Winter brings sadness. There is a feeling deep inside of unexplainable relief mixed with something deeper. A loss of something, a gain of another. We cannot put our finger on it. Winter brings reflection, but it fuels hope. The pen scratching against stiff paper in notebooks that crackle when opened. While we sit by windows, tracing the shadow of our breath as we look and listen.

We find solace in winter, in some strange way. We watch bits of the world die and the soft underside of leaves become brittle, disintegrating over time with the falling sun. We try to hold onto the pieces, the ones that make the world still feel alive, until we can find the new places where life gives itself up to us again. In tiny flecks of snow floating toward our upturned faces like constellations waiting to be held, embraced in the lace between our fingers as we stand together, watching.