Saturday, April 4, 2015

Winter Nature and the Shock of Flowers


 **photo of New York Bay by Robert Johnson, Flickr Creative Commons**

    Months have passed since my last update on November 30--all of winter, in fact.

    While my writing fell off partly because winter is a darker time with short days and less Vitamin D for me--it's also a fiercely lovely season. Cold and the snow are wonderful, though I can pass on dark and rainy November and December. 

    When winter hit, though, it held us as awed hostages, never sure what we'd see next. On the daily Staten Island Ferry, we rode facing a sea of ice floes and krill-like particles--our new reality, New York Bay as polar-research location. We floated in deep fog, seeing only a few anchored freighters and buoys in the bay. Each arrival, unscathed, at the ferry landing felt a bit miraculous--a return to landed shores. A return to snow-clearing trucks.

    Those ferry rides were the closest I've come to Antarctica work, and I’d like more. Ah, adventure! Ah, husky-dog and polar-bear frolicking weather.

    Fortunately, a few friends are skiers and snow enthusiasts and readers of deep, dark, nature narratives, because snow-enthusiasm isn’t popular in many an office here, heh.

    But sitting on the ferry’s outside side decks, which I sometimes did while wrapped carefully in down and hoods and scarves and boots--was all part of the adventure.

    It was all so exciting, at times, especially when snow fell in great, feathery flakes, even in March--that I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end.

    That said, now we are in spring. We have a dazzlement of crocuses in brownstone front gardens and house yards. First there were just the green tips of slender leaves. Each was remarkable and single, the only green thing. But now there are more and more: They are lavender, and purple, and white with tiny red veins, and yellow. They are touched, each day, ever more by the sun. 

 **photo of crocuses by Bernard Friess, Flickr Creative Commons**

    In the trees are fuzzed buds of what might be magnolias or decorative pears or other trees. So much potential, every day. So much bursting forth.

    From this I can see that I was sitting still for much of the winter, waiting and feeling cabin fever. Invigorated by cold weather in my lungs, I wanted to race about, or cross-country ski. I wanted to cover snowy parks in great strides and leave visible tracks.

    In the city, though, it was necessary to pick trails carefully, to walk in yak-trax and maintain footing on icy, hilly sidewalks. Did I like the city? I enjoy dusty bookstores, interiors, talking with others. But it is nice to go outside now.

    It's excellent to be freer, to walk in golden light that makes us look like screen stars on East Village streets, or pedaling the blue and cumbersome Citi Bikes--till we reach the destinations where we meet friends and sit outside.

    Each season, so glorious. I will walk more, and work more, and be open and honest. And we’ll have more seasons. This will all happen. 

    Also, right now I’m having a little spring whiskey, which might be influencing the tenor of this post. But it’s necessary to celebrate a little. I’m looking forward to the other green plants that will grow, and all that can be gathered and eaten. Happy spring.

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