It was -0.6°F when I looked at the weather station around 8:30 a.m.. Glancing out the kitchen window made me pause, the whole back yard looked like a badly groomed skating rink, but I still wish I had a pair of ice skates. I wouldn’t last very long at that temperature, but it could have been a fun (or disastrous) ride down our hill to the back field where my favorite Willow trees grace the tree line.
I wondered what it would have been like to live here before humanity figured out how to build houses. Would I be huddled with my tribe in the woods? Like the Inuit, or other Peoples, we would have figured it out of necessity – which is how any of our modern world came to be, really. Once we decided on permanent settlements, becoming farmers and builders instead of hunter/gatherer nomads, we became ever more elaborate, continuing to separate ourselves from the land all the while.
I’m not complaining. I’d rather have modernity than be huddled together in some sheltered spot for warmth, but I haven’t left the house in two days, so perhaps I’m not all that far from ancient ancestors. Cold weather is like pain for me – I avoid it as much as possible. I would move to warmer climes, but my life is here for now because of finances and family obligations, however gladly met.
This time of year is the toughest – but the season is turning, the light increasing, and my isolation is more by choice than by circumstances. Depression dulls my activity, keeping my world small, but staying removed only increases my distress. It’s a terrible syndrome, especially during the dark, lonelier months, but writing here helps because I feel more connected to my readers, and to those blogs I read, or discover through tags or recommendations.
There is also a loveliness of a winter morning’s quiet, as though the landscape is caught in the Snow Queen‘s frozen spell, and while I like the afternoon light, Emily Dickinson’s poem often comes to mind: (from The Poetry Foundation)
There’s a certain Slant of light (320)
There’s a certain Slant of light,Winter Afternoons –That oppresses, like the HeftOf Cathedral Tunes –Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –We can find no scar,But internal difference –Where the Meanings, are –None may teach it – Any –‘Tis the seal Despair –An imperial afflictionSent us of the Air –When it comes, the Landscape listens –Shadows – hold their breath –When it goes, ’tis like the DistanceOn the look of Death –***
Reprinted electronically by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983, 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)
Although I resonate with that poem, the afternoon light isn’t oppressive when it hits the top of the three towering Willows, emblazoning their top branches in glowing yellow-orange light, gladdening my heart to see it.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.