The breath of winter is flung upon all
and the walk is scented with promise of frost that
may visit or transmute, warmed, into rain.
I am hoping for rain but planning for frost,
even ice, prepared for what comes.
Or I want to think so. I grew up in a land
of dense, deep snow; even birds and branches
were bitten by its ache, shaken by zero dregrees.
The beauty held me. I thought I was lucky.
Being alive was spectacular,
eyes watering, cheeks crisped, mouth puffing breaths
that floated, friendly clouds, in air that stung.
Today I am not afraid of much at all,
knowing I have lived through things like
water pipes freezing, the fire going out
so burning furniture to keep us warm,
cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner,
being thought a nuisance or failure
so later harmed and forgotten.
Suffering threaded through my passion for living.
Now I suffer with those who have shared such troubles,
and those who know danger and brilliance of snow,
the wonder of slow warmth after sheen of ice.
It is not easy learning to navigate
the wind’s vagaries.
But today I am lucky, still. I know where
I am going, to the broad river and home.
And this wind may carry a long, low moan
but it releases a ribbon of song in between–
and that is what I listen for, and that is what I hear.
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