The word for this week is "patience", a good one when we are most (but not all) of the way through winter, beset by cabin fever and ardently longing for springtime.
Snowy fields in the highlands still stretch away into the distance like a desert, smooth and white and sinuous in their flowing curves, no sign of melting as yet. At the horizon, they reach upward and merge seamlessly with the wintery sky and drifting clouds that hold the promise of more snow to come. There is perfect trust in the elemental meeting of snow and earth and sky, and I watch from a sheltered place along the fence, my breath forming its own clouds as it meets the subzero air of the day.
Pottering in the woods is always a difficult exercise when snow is deep - there have been many days this winter when I did not get out to the woods at all because of health issues or storms, sometimes both. There have also been some fine adventures when I left the trail, then found myself in snow up to my waist and floundering about in my snowshoes. The logistics involved in extracting one's metabolism from such predicaments are complex, and an almost balletic agility is required. It pleases me no end that I can usually (but not always) find my way out of these things alone, and with a minimum of fussing, cussing and contorting.
What I need to do on stormy days when wooded rambles cannot be taken is cultivate patience and forbearance, try to be cheerful and rest easy in the knowledge that the universe is unfolding as it should, and springtime is somewhere up ahead. In so doing, I would be wise to emulate the choirs of patient cardinals who visit my winter garden. Clinging to a branch in the wind recently, this one serenaded the rising sun, and his pleasure in the day and the light was wonderful to see and hear.