It blew in a few hours early yesterday. I felt it before I saw it.
The feeling it -brought tears. Some escaped, but some were willed back, those got blinked back in and reduced to a runny nose. I drove, straight through town and then along farm dictated curves, past Federals and Colonials and barren trees betraying abandoned nests. Past our church and the church at the top of a hill with the hundreds of milk jug luminaries that I never saw lit. Wound around the wide open (but not for long) spaces, dipping downhill between wooded hills and past unexplored forked rights and then uphill again to that view of another state's tree covered hilltops. I love the moment of discovery every time. The thrill of ascension to that view in every season.
This is the drive, the area that called to me, made me brave enough to think we could move here almost ten years ago. This is where I do my best thinking, in the space and then snug in the trees. Yesterday's thoughts reminded me that home in the earthly sense is not defined by the walls that bound where I sleep but it's margins are marked by community and belonging, by earth and sky and the people between them. Then it was back downhill to the stoplight, and traffic, and work. I sniffled myself up the stairs.
I saw it through the little window right after I got to work. Dark sky signaled change behind the sunlit treetops. Snow swirled in the air at lunch time. A teasing, a dusting gone by two. The wind followed.
I needed gas, so I drove across the 'skinny bridge', two lanes of noisy metal where it's best to pull in your mirror and not look down. On my way back over, I saw that the wind had churned up the river. I remembered a lazy boat ride last summer on that same river. The lazy river had gone wild yesterday.
The wind also turned the roads into an obstacle course. I was Peach, Baby Mario hanging on behind me, dodging green turtle shell trash cans and swerving around fallen tree limb banana peels. Peach!
I stopped at the bookstore and bought a book of love poems for my love. I had them wrap it since it was a gift. When I was waiting for it, a friend had to explain to the giggling (she was my wife) and then mortified (she passed away) cashier that they could take his wife's name off the phone number they asked for. He did it with grace and humor; she ran for the back room at the earliest possible opportunity.
We had some family time in the afternoon as the wind blew colder and the temperature dropped lower. It was closer.
The girls had plans for the evening. So did we. In someone's front yard Mr. and Mrs. and little Frosty danced in the wind, lifting and twirling as we drove by. We should have stopped to join them. Christmas flags and bows on wreaths waved and lights bounced. We ate something somewhere and I was so cold from walking back to the car that I kept my hood up for a while.
When we got home, we basked in the warmth of a space heater by the glow of the HighDef Yule Log (it needs to be refreshed after 30 minutes) and read poems out loud in Spanish while eating a dessert that Steve had prepared. We watched a movie that was about resolve and we didn't even notice that it was official. After all that anticipation, it snuck in without fanfare. Then the girls and their friends called us two different times, so we knew that what had started hours earlier for me had become official. Change, a New Year is here.
A New Year.
Tears, memories, and vistas. Dark and light. Swirling in the sky. Dangerous waves on lazy rivers spanned by skinny bridges and obstacles on rainbow roads. Laughter and embarrassment and grace offered. Dancing and love poems. Cold and warmth and sweetness. Resolve, but not for a New Year's sake.
One time my daughter El said in frustration, "The problem with change is it's always so different!" Yes, that is the problem with change, but that is also the beauty, the adventure, the danger, and the predictable comfort in it.