I walked out of the house, somewhat counter-intuitively you might think, into an impending snow storm with my daughters’ two year old dog in tow today. I was lost, not actually physically lost in these very familiar woods, let me explain.
Lets’s say I acutely felt the closing down of my heart, thoroughly dismayed and frustrated by a recent turn of events in my life, unable to grasp as much goodness in prospect as I might usually. The chill set in, snow flurries built, but I plodded on and down the slope aimlessly, more or less; just checking periodically the dog was okay.
A twisted Corsican Pine caught my eye. I pondered, what did you do, my friend, to grow up so twisted and depleted of upright vigour, unlike your countless fine neighbours? Got stuck in your growth, too much pain, too often repeated? Still, stood there, I fished out my mobile phone, took off my gloves (why should I bother?), but took a picture. The one thing I did begin to notice, as I picked my way through the plantation was, in actuality, an increasing lack of something. What could it be? Noise, ambient, urban noise, deadened by the snowfall; like my emotions. But it gave nevertheless some solace, that quiet; time to be, to walk, in solitude, just that, unadulterated solitude. Well not quite, the two year old Mimi scampered about sniffing, increasingly taking delight in the snow and oh so many trees.
We found ourselves after that very random tramp through the woods back on one of the main tracks. Just as well, snow came hard, I thought, briefly, should I turn back – back all that way, to where I had come from?
But no, Mimi in a sort of spirit animal way had decided it for me, by finding, somewhat ahead, an apparently very good, new friend, a collie and they ran and ran! Mimi had to stick her head in the snow, to try it out just for fun, again, in a ditch, I guess for a cooling drink. As I rounded Horseshoe Lake I began to think, shame, I could have bought the camera out and captured all this change; whiteness, gunmetal grey impressive clouds and even now, some blue sky, a hint of sun amongst it all.
What was changing, in me, with the weather? Not sure – had I got spoilt by all that mid winter sum in Portugal last winter? Did this not have its’ special qualities too – snow, in winter, in this country in the north, like it used to be in my childhood? Has not everything got its’ own time, even with all we cannot suppose, the vagaries of climate change?
Then the snow eased, lifted its’ veil on the land, the water, the sky. I watched a pair of swans, a pair of ducks swimming towards me. Stood there on that bank, trying to take in all my mixed emotions in . . . pairs, together, companions, yet held apart by the confines of their perfect bodies and sovereignty of essence.
A little later in a rather unmindful way plunged my left walking boot all the way into stinky lakeside mud thinking to take a photo of the now glistening snow topped reeds against an azure blue sky. Of course my phones power was gone, in any case, so no photo of that. I guess we can’t take everything with us, in fact, very little, in the end – no matter how beautiful it is. Or can we – but in some more essential transcendent way. Also I reflect now – and here is the learning for me if you will; 30 minutes before that snow storm was passed through I am certain I may have cursed in bitter frustration and disappointment at sodden walking boots and a dead mobile – but not now. Not under that sun.
You know it does not take away the sources of initially low feeling, this weathering the storm. But something, out the other side feels freer, to hope, to imagine, to feel, but in a lighter way. While writing this, yet another snow cloud family has dumped its load with gusto on the land and all those struggling, to find their way home before darkness sets in again. There is of course, always tea and some warm smile to found, at journeys end, even if that be ‘just’ an animal companion. And the dog sleeps very well after vigorous exercise. Even if you have no dog, you may be able to borrow one, or simply walk out, like I did. Try it sometime, try it often!
Your misterkaki will be publishing his second poetry anthology later in the year. It will be called ‘Seasoned with Time’ – quite appropriate really – sometimes we experience two, or more emotional seasons, in one day.