The snow falling outside has got me in a certain mood. It has that effect. Fluff harmlessly lines the branches of trees and accumulates on my boots as I shuffle through the day. If I choose, I feel gratitude, reminiscing about the sound of my blue plastic sled dragging behind me, held onto by a soggy white rope that turned brown with each hill I whooshed down with my four older siblings. As if to coax me into play, it offers to take the form of my imagination: a snowman with a pipe or an angel with spread wings.
Then often with a switch, awe can turn to annoyance. Hands cold and wet, lamenting the fact that I took my scraper out the week before – I use my credit card to hack away at the frost on my windshield and curse the snow. People are fickle that way. But the accumulation continues peacefully, unimpressed by my mood. Light, bright white against the concrete and telephone wires, snow presents itself in starkness against my frustration. It’s comforting that way. I am 9 again and looking out my window, listening for school closings on the news ticker with an excitement for the snow piles that the plows will form by mid-day. Those quiet mornings in Michigan were some of the best.
So I clean off my car and get inside to blast the heat, remembering how my mom held my hand once as we walked around Sharon Woods. Too old to hold hands in public I thought, but not young enough to disobey. She and I were in a state of hibernation after the divorce, hunkering in together to get through the dark days and come out stronger, more alive in our changed circumstances.
“Look at these trees, Katie,” she pointed up with her eyes, positioning her scarf a little closer up around her mouth, “Isn’t it amazing?” I tried to figure out what kind they were, my mind working quickly to decipher her wonderment. “Just imagine how hard they are working, all of them. Dead and cold on the outside, but inside, they are imagining spring.” Before that I hadn’t thought about the trees as hard workers, resilient.
Today I look outside from my desk at the snow falling, fluff lining their stick figure silhouettes, and I feel in a certain mood. Like somehow, nothing can be too difficult if through it all we imagine spring.