Somewhere to the south, wild orchids may be raising their heads, there may be fields of grazing geese and sunny lagoons of silently floating loons, but not here and not for some long time to come. We were a little late getting started on the long white season this time around, but winter is in full deep snowy swing, and with the wind chill factored into the equation, Fahrenheit and Celsius are sometimes of equal height and breadth and dancing along through the drifting white, hand in hand.
There is an Inuit expression for what we find ourselves doing in February. Qarrtsiluni is an Inupiaq word meaning "sitting together in darkness" or "sitting in the darkness waiting for something to burst forth". In the original sense, the expression has to do with creativity, describing a benighted interval when one is just sitting about waiting for an image, an idea or an inspiration to come hurtling out of nowhere. I've always loved both the word and the notion, and if there had not already been a fine online literary journal called Qarrtsiluni, that is probably what this blog would have been named. Just turf out the part about creativity, and that is where we are at the moment, sitting around in the darkness and the cold, waiting for something to happen.
There are wonders here and there, deep snow crunching nicely under one's skiis or snowshoes, frosting on the trees, long blue shadows falling across the trail into the woods. A season which is capable of creating such wonders surely merits more respect and appreciation than I grant it at this time of the year. My insular, crotchety and rather taciturn winter crone self sometimes balks at the idea though. She hunches morosely over her tea, mutters to herself and harbors mutinous thoughts. Strangely enough (but then she is a rather strange creature), the cure for such things is usually a trip into the woods.
This is actually a reposting of something written many moons ago. While I am tussling with pneumonia, my feverish brain balks at the idea of putting words together, at least in any form that makes sense. I write something down, take a look at it and cringe.