I love weather. Climate with personality. I would quickly get miserable somewhere like southern California, with its perpetually cheery warmth. Just like I love people who challenge me and interest me, I like a meteorological zone with an opinion, with moods. That’s why I live in the northeast. I love what watching seasons means for my understanding of the world.
Yesterday, I drove around, knowing that an ice storm was coming, and made myself notice the remaining green. If there is one thing that has helped in my quest to become more of a glass-half-full kind of girl, it has been my garden and the gardens all around me. I used to think that the earth in this area was lush half the year, dead the other half. But that was when I wasn’t noticing things.
Even in winter, the garden changes and plans, waits and lives. The roses from the bush my mother gave me years ago, planted by the right side of my front steps where there is not nearly enough drainage or sun, bloom cheerily into November with no care from me whatsoever. Often I get to Thanksgiving with a lone cheeky pink-red bloom turning its face to the short day of sun. By February – even January sometimes in these climate change days – my crocus begin to pop their impossibly optimistic little heads all over the lawn and in the corners where they’ve survived the hungry squirrels. There are early risers and late bloomers. The dance is exquisite, a joy to watch. The garden is alive all year.
Today, it snowed. I noticed that the snow melted faster on the remaining leaves than on the ground. Because they are alive. The realization moved me immeasurably, knowing that even in the wet chill they survive and even thrive. It’s one of the reasons I love planting bulbs. They are the ultimate act of optimism, putting brown little stumps on the ground, watching them get buffeted and frozen and iced over all winter, and believing they’ll let forth blooms in the spring. Believing in spring is, of itself, one of the biggest acts of faith I know.
But winter isn’t only about waiting for something else. It is the pause between breaths, the moment between the exhale and the next inhale. It is a majestic season itself, reflective and regal, an important period to another sentence in our lives. On my block, the snow makes the trees look like the arches in a cathedral. To notice winter, to really love it and feel it on your skin, means remembering that life comes and goes in cycles of cold and warmth. To remember that we can brave it all – the gale and the sunny day. Like the crocus, like the squirrel.
Happy snow day.