Cold again, the kind of cold
that makes you feel like you'd better
check your supplies. Even my computerized
central heating does nothing to dispel
a sense of kinship with ancestors
who survived the frozen ground,
the dead landscape.
Here, at the apex of these generations of
survivors, intelligent and animalistic,
full of love and ruthlessness -
here, I know myself to be
capable of anything.
Do not make decisions during times
of prolonged, extreme cold. The desire for
heat is dangerous; the longing for fire, overpowering:
in the end nothing is safe from being burned for
warmth. A romance begun in the winter is
deadly serious: in the summer we may
love or hate; in the cold we can kill.
It is no simple three-month affair here, winter. It begins earlier each year (or later, depending on whose memory you consult) and while it peaks in February it has been known to drag itself onward into May before it exhausts its annual quota of snow.
Spring occurs fitfully, in the interstices. Trees are mistakenly putting forth buds right now; the rabbits who survived the coldest months are making themselves seen again. There is talk of softball leagues. It is not clear whether these are deluded protections against despair or efforts to tempt the god of the wood back to life before his scheduled rebirth.
Gradually we learn to become cautious, to distrust these small gifts of days or weeks, knowing them to be merely errors of bookkeeping, soon noticed and corrected. In the end, of course, we resist even genuine summer; as hardened to seduction, finally, as an aged harlot whose true lover has appeared at last.