The Christmas decorations are packed away for another year. The streets that were bright with lights and decorations have faded back to their dark and cold countenance. It’s no longer Christmastime. It’s no longer “the Holidays”. It’s now just winter – and it’s time I faced up to it.
Winter is death incarnate. Its bleak sullen skies and early sunsets, stir up a morose soup that seeps deep into my soul sadly and lingers there sadly. It’s winter. You can’t digest it. You can’t shake it. You can’t get rid of it. The darkness is everywhere. The weak and melancholy morning sun mourns and yearns for spring. But in our eternal disregard of the brutal truths written upon the sad pages of The Book of Our Lives, we pay no attention to it. Spring and its soft breezes of light and life are eternally far away – winter has only recently been born, but I ignored it – the tinsel and lights and festivities cloaked the sad, dark and bleak winter in brightly colored, festive clothing.
Up until now I could ignore it.
Winter, borne on the dying breath of autumn, is shallow and tenuous at first, so ethereal and nebulous we don’t even notice that life is being sucked slowly from the world around us – and from the souls within us.
We pretend the days are not getting shorter. Even in the dying days of autumn, lawn mowers still hum as if it were summer. People are out working in the yard as if summer were eternal here in the northern climes. The early sunsets and sound of crunching leaves try in vain to warn us that something is changing, that death is approaching, that something isn’t quite right with the world.
We sip our beer and read the paper on summer patios oblivious, while the world dies and decays around us. We all pretend to forget that winter is imminent even though frosty nights of autumn – the sentries of the darkness and death to come – leave sparkling reminders for us on our lawns and windshields each morning.
We love to look backward and dread looking forward; we see only what we wish to see. We envision nitrogen-blue skies filled with puffy summer castles – dragons and princesses and horse heads – and ignore the increasingly dark world, and the solemn gray tapestry of winter feasting on the last vestiges of summer things. While winter is busy devouring the green things and cerulean blue summer skies, we like to sip our memories slowly. We try to ignore it, but there’s that chill in the air. The curtain of death is coming and we are powerless against it. So we just ignore it.
And yet, it’s true… some of us do still revel in the first snowflakes – the little child who remains inside us rises up and urges us to catch those first few snowflakes on our tongues. Then on that first morning we wake and see a shimmering, white, crystalline blanket covering the world, some of us, still filled with childlike wonder, are apt to celebrate its beauty with the wonder of a child. Some of us can do this. Some of us can altogether ignore that this beautifully painted winter scene, is nothing but a wonderfully disguised harbinger of death.
All this should come as no suprise.
Most of us live in a world which is nothing other than a fabrication – one of our own futile creation. We mold it it from old clay of memories and hopes. While our minds are busy creating, the darkness and death of winter approaches. Winter is a juggernaut, as unstoppable as the turning and unfolding of the universe.
Winter comes too quickly for some – while for others winter cannot come quickly enough. But winter comes when it will.
Some somber, cold and gray morning, each of us will awaken to find that our very own winter has arrived. And then we will live in that winter world of broken and brittle dead things, rising up sad and weary from the cold and tired and dirty snow.