There’s a drag that comes from lack of sunlight. That’s for real, and the lure of sleeping in on a winter morning is a real temptation.
I’m not a morning person. We know who we are. Years ago, I was in a carpool with a woman who was a morning person. I’m not sure she ever stopped talking for the entire ride into work. It worked out fine. She didn’t seem to mind that no one responded. Other than her and the driver, everyone else in the car was asleep.
This is how it works with me. I open my eyes, and even before the sleep fog clears, a whole litany of unwelcome thoughts line up for attention. Really…can’t I just get some coffee or OJ?
The thought that wakes us at 3 am feels like a heart-thumping immediate crisis. What if there’s a new killer COVID variant? At 8 am, it’s not quite as dramatic, more like a mental listing of every conceivable worry and bad outcome I might need to deal with that day, or anytime in the next six months, or the next six years.
So how does this relate to winter? In the winter, I wake and the sun’s shining through the shades, or it’s not, and either way it’s something to be happy about. Well, maybe not happy, but relieved. It’s something like the winter clause. I have good reason, loosely based on science or nature, to postpone, to hesitate, or to give in. To succumb, to hold back, put off, delay, and dispense, everything I don’t want to deal with, in effect and with great affection, on the pretext that it’s winter.
January’s a fresh start. It’s also a cold, unembellished, minimalist reality.
Branches stretch tall in a cold winter sky. The way they’ve always done. Like some fabulously strong declaratory sentence.
Sometimes those trees come down. I’ve seen them come down, and that’s a sad day. But when I look out, I see strength. The ancient strength of magnificent trees who throw all caution to the wind and stand between me and the heavens. As is their way.
Tall white pines and a path that takes you. It doesn’t lead you, it takes you.
Do you know the long soft needles of a tall white pine? A pine tall enough to meet the sunny sky in the last moments of a December day. North Country meets Norwegian Wood meets what? I don’t know. It’s gentle. Or it’s pain, or it’s a place to leave behind.
When you choose your favorite lyrics to a Dylan song, it’s hard to find THE lines. I have this thing – sort of a pretty unimportant guiding principle. If I single out the same musical lyrics more than once, if it’s a sequence of lines or a few words, if those are the words I remember or I want to remember after I hear a song, then I guess I love those words.
In the darkness of my night In the brightness of my day
Bob Dylan works a magic with images nobody else can do. And in the middle of all that you find words you plainly love.
Life comes down to microseconds. Minutes, hours, seasons. Ordinary time. Weekdays, weekends. Occasions that come and go, and events that don’t seem consequential. It’s a blink. An instant we bring something special, something that breathes life into us. The marrow of our life blood. The sum and substance of our existence.
faded scenes and sinking dreams, missed connections, and narrow streets in all directions, immense, impending structures, intense, irrational stares, dizzying stairs in random rooms, that lead to rooms, commanding, tangled thoughts, unravel reality, erase familiarity, hands sweaty, legs heavy, breathless, and thready, turning, reverting, blurring, escape, escape …
ahhh, yes … awake … yes … awake.
Do we all have pieces like this? Words we write, and we re-write, and re-write. It never feels complete or just right. I have at least five versions of this one. I’m not comfortable with this style of writing, but the words don’t fit well in sentences and paragraphs. Just maybe … it’s the sort of thing that should take me out of my comfort zone.
I just completed a small collection of written pieces and photos to give as presents this holiday. I did this last year too, and although the project is always surprisingly time-consuming, the end results are gratifying. This time, I tried to bring in plenty of bold colors and some of the dreamier layers of life. This piece is probably atypical, in terms of style, but it was one of the bits I included.