“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” ~ Pietro Aretino
This is an ode to my first North American winter. An ode to the simple things.
Picture a white-skinned African woman with viking blood meeting brilliant white powdered snow and icicles for the first time.
Picture a bouncing border collie reveling in thick drifts of snow, bounding, like a joy-filled gazelle.
Faces full of childlike awe, they skip and dance and holler their exuberance to the sky.
I have always loved the way the sun and moon glisten on water. But, I must confess, it holds no candle to the exquisite prisms that glitter in the snow. They put Swarovski crystals to shame.
I love the pinkish halo that shines around the full moon, as icy humidity hangs in the air on a midnight-like afternoon.
I love the way paw prints stand out, dark against white.
African though I may feel, my genetic heritage seems to leave me prone to direct contact with the snow. Bare knees, bare feet, bare skin.
I love that feeling in my chest that goes, “Hang on! Stop. This moment, right here, is magical. Take stock.” I love the way my rushing mind and striving heart begin to move as one, as the present moment becomes more important and vibrant than all the ones to come.
I love the night-lights in the windows—beacons against the dark. Calling us home. Home to the heart.
There are glowing reindeer grazing in the neighbor’s garden, arresting my eye as my four-footed companion and I trundle down the road.
There is nothing quite like seeing your dog loose, in the snow. If you have a dog, you will know.
Bounding, slipping, sliding and skipping. Fluffy, perky bum in the air, face to the ground—the original downward facing dog—she gives me a devilish side-eye, filled with playful wry.
We haven’t had summer in over a year. But we haven’t had a chance to miss it yet. And we love summer.
I am grateful. To be an African in the early snows of North America. I am grateful for the crackling fire that thaws our ice-cold bones. I am grateful for the belly-warming soul food, the company of family and the promise of new friends, soon.
I am grateful for the crispness of the air. It quickens the blood and steals moisture from the lips, like a lover slipping in and away.
I am grateful for the safe, womb-like space of the forests, and the ancient grandmother pine, so much older and larger than all the other trees—all her twisting, gnarled bark and crooked branching arms pointing every which way.
I am grateful for new ventures, new things.
For the way the nude trees reach tall, with black silhouettes, drinking in a dusky yellow sky, filling my heart with gladness for the beauty of simple things—stark though they may be.
A winter wonderland, indeed.
Author: Catherine Simmons
Editor: Toby Israel