Considering Winter

I can feel the winter season in my bones like wind through a flute. The air is crisper, stiller-- something smells cold. I sing Christmas carols to the kids in their bubble bath and I cry about Jesus and the Maccabees and Demeter and Persephone.

Pomegranates are in season. We eat three at a time and giggle. So are persimmons, and our starfruit tree is an embarrassment of riches-- gold, frankincense and stars. The tangerines have just come on and they are a morality tale. The bright orange lovelies with the gentle peel and alluring sweet smell may be sour enough to chap your cheeks. And the warty green ones with the scabby gray mold may be pillows of sweet citrus love. You just can't judge a tangerine by its cover.

The chickens have overcome their phobias and hysterics and our fridge is filling up with recycled cartons of compact brown eggs. I cracked the last of the store-bought eggs into the same skillet as the fresh ones. The store ones were flaccid with blond yolks. The fresh ones were red-orange hearts in the frying pan.

I am considering how the glass is already broken. How good things and bad things and all things change and end. I am considering this while packing a heavy suitcase, scouring through the closets for winter jackets and socks.

We are heading into the cold of winter-- just for a little while, a few months. But long enough to make me consider the act of moving, changing.  The snow will be cold. The sky will be gray. We will be strangers and outsiders again, in an empty apartment. But it feels like something I need-- to retreat for a while into a deep cave, under the earth, let everything on the surface get cold and brittle, pull in to the heart and let the extremities go numb for a little while.

Maybe there's something punitive about going into the dead of winter after 5 or 6 years without-- my Danish ancestors scolding me with gray-sky eyes for my tropical life-- but I feel like a plant that has gotten too much sun and water-- I'm sprawling and coming apart. A good pruning, a little winter austerity, a chance to send all that photosynthesis into my roots, seems like just the thing. A couple of months thinking dark thoughts and eating stew, in a new place with only as much as we can carry on and check out from the library-- I need a hibernation.


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