A Spring-Green Leaf
We open the book in December. Its silver-white pages tell the story of winter, tales of plunging temperatures and frosted windows, of heavy coats and blazing hearths. Day after day we turn page after page of cold. Sometimes the story gets scary: snowfalls become epic, the power goes out. But generally the narrative meanders through its icy tale of frigid days and frozen nights in much the same manner as all the books of winter have done since time began.
But then, without warning, tucked in the middle of the book like a pressed spring-green leaf, comes a day when the sun rises, no longer pale and watery, but smiling like April. We wake to find a breeze rising up from the southland, shaving the chill off the air as it pushes every cloud from the sky. We slam the book shut, afraid this wayward springtime breeze might lift the page and turn it once again backwards, or forwards, to winter.
Perhaps Mother Nature hides these days in our book as a recompense for August, when we are melted and drained by the heat. Perhaps she means it as a blessing. Or perhaps she just does it for fun. Whatever her reason, it seems we have an obligation of sorts to enjoy the gift we’ve been given, to lift our faces to the light and walk for hours in the dappled sun someplace where Mother Nature’s handiwork can best be seen; someplace where the light scatters diamonds on the cold waters of the lake and the birds sit high in the trees, singing. How could we do anything else with this day?
The page turned once again at midnight, as it always does,
and we woke to the vengeance of winter.
We put up our hoods and stacked logs in the fireplace.
The tea kettle whistled, the birdbath was frozen.
But no ice or snow, no frigid wind, could erase the memory of what we’d received.
The gift of a freshly pressed spring-green leaf,
hidden right in the middle of a winter’s tale.