09 December 2010

Winter is icumen in

Winter is icumen in. The nights are long and the days are short and the air is bitter cold. I feel as if I am shrunk a bit in size as I hold myself tight to maintain body warmth. The front foyer is littered with cloaks and scarves and boots, and to enter the house requires some fancy and careful footsteps. If nothing else, winter is heavy.
When I step out of the house in the early morning hours, when the night is still upon me  . . . well, how to describe the sky without resorting to cliché? Littering the blackness is the sparkle of the endless stars: they seem to offer some end to the universe and I feel almost comforted by the sense—albeit false—of the finite. But the silence is astounding—the traffic that begins around 5:30a has not yet begun, and even the rabbits foraging for some table scraps we have thrown out from last night’s dinner make no noise as they hop fearfully away from my step. Out here there is movement but no sound. It is beautiful but frightening.
Tonight the town sponsors a Winter parade. Floats and bands march through town for hours, I suspect. People will stand for hours watching the display, and children will scurry about gathering candies thrown by participants in the parade ensemble. I hope it will be shown on the nine o’clock news.
In here there are two kittens. Sleeping. They are about seven or eight weeks old. All kittens are adorably cute: their coats are soft and fluffy and they scurry about playing with anything that can be moved, and they squeak rather than meow. Their eyes are enormous and sparkle—but not like the stars in the frigid cold. The eyes of the kitten are filled with wonder and play and . . . longing. They have been moved into a strange environment. Though I suspect they will have a good life here, they do have that awareness, and perhaps they are a bit wary. After all, they have been taken away from their mother.
I’ve never been fond of winter, actually. I watch the school children bundled up on their way to school and I sometimes wonder where they are in all of those clothes. How do they manage to move their legs and arms encased as they are in protective wrappings.
Does hibernation prolong a bear’s life? 


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