Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Last Snow.

This might be the last snow of winter. All day the season seems to spend itself upon the air, a glinting dust caught in a wind which swallows it, a shimmer caught in the slant of late afternoon sun whose warmth has already overcome it. Winter spends the last of itself in a thin layer across the already greening grass. I scatter a handful of sunflower seeds on my balcony rail, and their tiny black bodies melt the snow beneath them at the slightest touch of their tiny black heat. This might be the last snow.

What is the point of all this planning? What purpose does it serve, to strive and to work? For what? Under the sun, nothing is original--the seeds are all of them small and familiar. To write the book that will open minds. To love a man with a good heart. To give voice and service, gratitude and praise. Every year, people bundled against the fickle mouth of March complain that spring has not come soon enough, that surely now--when the days have almost overtaken the nights, when the birds and the bulbs seem to have such certainty in what is coming--now there must be some relief from the cold. But winter is always too long, spring too hesitant, summer too swift. What if all I strive for, I achieve? What if I write that book--haven't others written such books before me? Haven't I learned from their examples and been inspired by their works? And yet here again, it is cold today, and the snow bites, and I am sad and uncertain. Whatever task I face, even if I should overcome it, there will be another. What is the purpose of such a struggle, when what has been accomplished dwindles to memory and what remains is only the demand for yet another feat of strength, a new moment of sacrifice or humility or acceptance?

The cardinal chirps in the empty bush. She is subtle and faded, hopping among the shriveled berries that have clung to the branches since autumn. Not like her mate--he could be singing of sunrises, of bright and unmitigated romantic passions, or of bloody war. He does not find the red, red rose of love to be trite; he is rich and blazing and self-assured. But she is like a painting which has been partly rubbed away. She is like the blood once it has dried, the wound once it has begun to heal. Only when she flexes a bit and flits to this twig or that one, does the sore sanguine of her underwing show. Perhaps she seems to flinch. Still, she sings. The sun warms the dull brick, and the snow does not stick long to the ground.

I want to choose this, to choose life. Though it is hard, I want to choose it anyway. I want to choose to participate, freely and creatively, in the stubborn play of humanity. I want to love, though nature is indifferent and people misconstrue. I want to be loved, though love cannot save me. I will not despair if sometimes my heart feels small and dark--let the sun lick the hard shell until the snow around me begins to melt, let me be eaten or let me split open. Let it all begin again.

Today's Ogham: nGetal (Broom)
(cleaning, healing, herbal lore)

1 comment:

  1. I read this, Ali, beloved, and I ache.

    I was poking around among these old posts, wondering what forgotten treasures there might be. I'm reading them on my phone, and for some reason the "click here to continue reading" links don't work, so I've only been able to read the teasers. But I'm going to have to stop, because my arms are starting to ache from not being able to give you a hug.