There Are Times

March 4 There are Times…

It has been a long winter. It began, for me, on a morning late in November when I got up and stepped onto the pier and looked out across the water and saw the barest notion of skim ice shimmer. Here it is March and yet it lingers.

There are times when the sky seems so low and dark and oppressive, when buzzards fly overhead making me aware that some creature has not survived, and though I know change to be the natural order of the Universe, the winter has made me weary and the tiredness has stolen a part of me that accepts this and that gives me strength to accept what I cannot understand. Crows try to find something to eat beneath the snow, and the night comes too fast and I can hardly breathe.

There are times when the temperature dips into single digits, both above and below zero, and the wind whips my face and stings and howls loud enough to drown out my cries. Sometimes nothing can burn like the cold. Isn’t that an irony? I somehow feel deserving of the pain. My weaknesses and my foibles seem exposed and no amount of punishment will bring redemption. I peer through the trees into the woods and imagine yellow eyes looking back at me, like hungry wolves waiting for me to look away and put down my guard. I know they are not real, but sometimes even thoughts can take on a reality, even a symbolic one and can hurt you. Their forcefulness is like a gale pushing and bending the door to your heart until you cannot hold them back. 

There are times when I hate driving on the freeway or into the city after a heavy snow. The plows have shoved the snow aside and pushed it into mounds and the passing cars and trucks and buses have thrown their dirt upon them and there is an ugliness that makes me divert my eyes. It seems symbolic of what people have done to this beautiful planet we have been gifted with. It makes me feel us unworthy. When I stop in Baltimore the emotionally lost and the homeless approach my car. I do not understand and though when the temperature reaches a critical low (wonder who determines that?) there is a “roundup” up these desolate people to force them into shelters. I cannot help but question this fear they have. Perhaps the fear is not only on the side of the homeless, but on society toward them too. I have nothing to offer sometimes except a non judgmental glance into their eyes and a prayer.

There are times when the short days with no sun seem to stretch ahead as far as I can see, and are only broken by the long nights where stars seldom shine. This brings an introspection that often pains me.

There are times, though, that are good, times to bring me joy and times to help me understand that darkness is a part of my life, that sadness has its place and is a teacher bringing necessary lessons.

There are times when I love watching big snowflakes fall on my window panes. They land so gently I can see their individual geometric shapes and when I step outside the flakes land like kisses on my face. My grandmother used to tell me that when I was a little girl in Kentucky she would scoop a bowl of fresh snow and pour sweetened milk over it for me.

There are times when I find beauty in the silence of the woods when the snow has fallen and the air is still. It is magic and I feel the promise of spring in the quietness. When the woods are hushed like this I feel more in touch with My Maker.

There are times when I arise and step onto the pier and gaze out and the frozen river shimmers like jewels and reflects a warm joy that belies the ice source. I feel privileged and I know that I have been given a spiritual gift.

There are times when joy comes on wings, so unexpected as to make me stop. Some boats here at the marina have “bubblers” installed to keep the water around them warm and in motion so it doesn’t freeze and the other day a flock of diving ducks flying down the river must have spied the small thawed pool of water and were frolicking in it like they were at a spa. They made me laugh out loud. I looked out beyond them and a Great Blue Heron was gliding across the frozen expanse, reminding me of all those evenings I would photograph them when the weather was warm, and he spoke to me of a promise soon to come.

There is a time for everything. May I keep my balance and not be too hard on myself when I falter and when I rage. I know my life isn’t supposed to always be a garden. Even when the clouds hang low and cold the sun still shines above them, and when the night storms howl the stars are still there out beyond the storm, and I have only to see them with my heart.

And there is always LOVE…

And The Beat Goes On….

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