In the deep fall
don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
Here in Northern Florida we just had a record number of consecutive days over 90 degrees – 49! In that period I imagine there were many people fantasizing about snow, glaciers, and frigid winds. The holy grail of summer is the promise of fall and winter. In that same period I imagine there were many people bowing down in gratitude for the heat and humidity, and how when you go out at night it is as if you are swimming in or held by the earth. Their air smells and feels in its heaviness that it is similar in composition to your own moisture. It is as if every breath in is full of carbon bits, the organic debris of a world that knows no bounds. I am one of these tropicalphiles. I don’t need my frontal cortex to tell me that I am interconnected to all of life – a being both glorious and insignificant. My body knows these truths. In winter, huddled indoors or under layers of clothes, I struggle a bit more to know that I belong. Perhaps that is the way of the great dying back and death of winter, and of human life. It’s not a path so easily known. But I imagine a flock of birds nesting in my body upon the indifferent snow. That, even for one enamored with life and the tropics, is almost enough to have me long for winter, for death.
What does winter symbolize for you?