A mink, jointless as heat, was
tip-toeing along the edge of the creek,
which was still in its coat of snow, yet singing-I could hear it!-
the old song of brightness....
the mink had a hunger in him
bigger than his shadow, which was gathered
like a sheet of darkness under his
neat feet which were busy
making dents in the snow.
He sniffed slowly and thoroughly in all
four directions, as though
it was a payer to the whole world...
For me, it was a the gift of the winter
to see him. Once, like a hot, dark-brown pillar,
he stood up-and then he ran forward, and was gone.
I stood awhile and then walked on
over the white snow: the terrible, gleaming
loneliness. I took me, I suppose,
something like six more weeks to reach
finally a patch of green, I paused so often
to be glad, and grateful, and even then carefully across
the vast, deep woods I kept looking back.
In the winter of our lives, are there patches of experience for which we can be grateful? And the ultimate test, can we see beauty in the harshness and the dying back? My sister recently was diagnosed with bone cancer, probably metastasized from a previous bout of breast cancer. For me, this is devastating news. There are some hard years for her coming up, and I'm guessing, not too many of them either. Yet, in our phone calls she has times of laughing, nearly giggling. Yesterday her retort to the mess her affairs are in, was, "At least I got to see a hawk." She had seen a Sharp-shinned hawk foraging around in her snow covered bushes for sparrows, and fly away talons empty.
She is like a beautiful sleek mink, and now is the time for me to look at how her life is a prayer to the whole world.
Who or what is your mink in the winter time?