|A cold snap: focus sharpens. Crystal clings to every branch
defining more than outline: Long frozen memories want to play.
Youth, buried in years, drifts; re-emerges in layers as I carefully button my coat.
Frigid air; a sharp crack of winter’s whip—for a brief moment I cannot breathe.
Combination of stark colors: world reduced to winter green, black and white.
My own world's akin to the front step; encased in ice.
Laughter shatters the perfect silence as children spill out to play.
Stark softens to water-colored blends. Children: each zipped in winter coat,
with scarf flapping as they run, whitened puffs of air trailing as they breathe.
Boots crunch, footstep designs break virgin white
as I balance, frozen: Journey begun on steps of ice.
When did the magic cease? Somewhere I took a lonely branch.
Burning bush edges the stairs; fiery leaves still stubbornly cling—a coat
of frost blurring red to pale, not unlike distant memory. I breathe
time. Wind whisks snow - nature’s blender. White
out. The bottom step vanishes, but the ice
remains. With naught to grasp, I reach for a branch,
but fall into the fire. The ice burns my face. I am too old; tears play.
Yet muscles defrost, bones aren’t splintered ice and I breathe
a sigh of relief. Flailing flightless wings I snow angel the white
powder on the walk in efforts to rise. I am conquered, the ice
is master here. Direct line of vision: A walking stick stuck to branch;
frozen in time. Dead. Realization sears, I won’t play
that game. A cardinal perches on the split rail fence, his scarlet coat
a crimson memory flash. I remember soaring: red rails against white
on my flexible flyer as I raced the wind down hills worn to ice.
The sharp turn at the bottom taken tilted to shoot across the branch
of the river, scattering skaters. For hours, I’d play
returning, blue lipped to my grandmother’s warm bread. My coat
soaked through, the hearth blazing so hot I could barely breathe.
Smiling at myself, sitting in the snow, I feel the ice
of age crack and my mittened hands form a snowball. I eye the branch
but begin to build a snowman. I haven’t forgotten at all. Rising, I play
with the day, feeling joy as brisk air renews. No matter, now, my coat
isn’t nearly warm enough, I am warmed by the past remembered. I breathe
in and the canvas that is I, again, is white.
No longer shrouded in ice, I branch
off in new directions. For in play, imagination takes mere white
and paints a fresh new coat. It takes more than air to breathe.
Written for and the quote:
Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.