Saturday, March 30, 2013

April is the Cruelest Month, March is a Close Second

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

-T.S Eliot, The Waste Land

April may be the cruelest month, but March may be vying for second place.  Longer days coupled with daylight savings time makes it feel like more is possible.  While that should fill me with hope, really it just makes me want to hide under a blanket.  The 6pm sun reaches through my kitchen window and displays the dust suspended in the air, lights up a long rectangle of dirt on the hard wood floor, and when we sit down for dinner it shines directly in my eyes.  I scramble up on the counter and hang a kitchen towel in the window to cut down the glare, and remember for the hundredth time that I should get blinds.

Of course it’s not just the dust and the dirt, it’s all the things left undone through the winter.  It’s suddenly too transparent all the things I should have done:  read more books, submitted more work for publication,  used my sewing machine more, done more art projects with Morgan, gone to bed earlier, woken up earlier, exercised more, started yoga, gotten more organized, and played outside more.  Yet I don’t regret a single moment of this winter.  The only thing I could have traded was sleep, and well, sleep makes me a nicer person.  So while the snow is still covering the wild green, and before we Northerners fall into the spell of the midnight sun pushing us into a summer frenzy of doing more, I want to steal this moment to dwell on winter’s dark beauty.

Outside my window, in the field beyond the tangle of spruce and alder, snow seems to come from nowhere and everywhere. In the evening twilight, the spruce circling the field are bright and heavy with the burden of the new white. The trees closest to my window protect each other from the wind, but even they give a sudden wave every few minutes.  More than anything, I want to contort this scene to mean something, because that’s what writers do.  But really it’s only snow falling making the trees glitter under the rising full moon.

Inside my studio I’m wearing my down jacket because I rarely turn the heat up enough.  My fingers are cold too.  My mind wanders to a hen I witnessed peck a mouse to death.  Snow was falling then too, how surprised I was by the vulgarity and bloody insistence of the bird; I was even surprised by my own surprise.  I closed the door to the chicken coop, and returned to my winter walk home, back to my wood stove and hot tea. Of course, I never forget that winter’s splendor is foreboding: in the field beyond the tangle of spruce and alder, violence is not only possible, but is likely.  Eagles circle and prey for rabbit.  Moose are hunted by wolves. Lynx prowl and coyote are unafraid to stalk the neighbor dogs.  

But for this moment, the snow falls and I’m warm inside.  The scene from my desk window is pure and inviolable.  All that’s demanded of me on such a winter evening is to stay indoors and sink inside myself. Trekking the wild interior of the mind can be as reckless as any adventure, but I am comfortable navigating my known regions.  I am distrustful of spring’s persistent invitation to join the exterior wild and do more. 

As tomorrow is the last day of March, I wish you an easier April.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing so beautifully some of the interior of your own wild mind.
    I so relate to your musings on the outward ebbs of winter. And despite having been a summer person my whole life, I somewhat dread the summers here, for that same inexorable pushing injunction to do more do more do more.