Sunday, January 9, 2011

H is for Hoar frost...and Hope.

I went for a walk this morning. It's been awhile since I've woken with any kind of exuberance; winters here have a way of leaching away vitality, the cold, coupled with the wind, can be deadly. You have to dress for it, which means layers, which takes time, and sometimes a person is just not in the mood.

This morning, though, was different. I could feel it as soon as my eyes opened. Snuggled beneath the covers, toasty warm and ever so comfortable, I glanced at the clock: 9:14. I'd watched a couple of movies the night before and gotten to bed after 1 a.m., but I wasn't tired. I threw the covers back, slipped out of bed and launched myself at the window. Pulling back the curtain, I peered out and saw...hoar frost! I could feel myself breaking into a smile. It doesn't take much to please me, and hoar frost has always pleased me. Obviously it had warmed somewhat over night; I checked the weather channel to find it was -16 C, with barely any wind at all. Perfect.

There's something very ethereal about a landscape dressed in hoar frost. It's a magical sight. For years I've always loved to walk on mornings when the trees and bushes, fences, street signs, even the vehicles, everything is covered in the furry-looking layer of ice crystals. You want to touch it, reach out a tentative hand in a childlike gesture and feel it...but you don't, because that would damage it, spoil it. So you walk amongst it. And experience it with your eyes. You don't touch it; it touches you. You drink it in visually, the snow crunching beneath your boots, the air crisp in your lungs and pluming out with every breath, the ever so slight wind just sharp enough to make you blink. The clouds above were fluffy, wispy, breaking apart, to allow the sun to come through, and when it finally did, I looked up, to see the trees surrounding me edged in glittering gold. I felt...privileged.

The last several weeks have been difficult ones. It hasn't been easy to keep my spirits up, to keep my thoughts ordered, my vision directed forward. I should be good at this by now, but just because you've been doing something for a long time, doesn't mean you're ever allowed to slack off. I know what I need, what lights the tinder in my soul, to create a blaze that roars through my heart and mind, that warms me and drives me. If I sometimes have difficulty finding the fuel to feed these fires, something as simple as a morning walk through a world made magical with ice crystals provides all the fuel I need. 

It's that simple.

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