Friday, November 21, 2008


A cold, cold morning. Single digits cold. The time has come. Winter is stretching its long fingers into western Minnesota, scraping its icy fingernails at our windowpanes. Soon winter's hand will reach out and grasp us cold and tight. Slowly its arms will curl inward and hug us close against its arctic belly. Those will be the mornings in January when a single breath outside your door will turn your nosehairs into icicles.

You can struggle against winter's grip. Most people struggle. I usually struggle. Last winter I struggled a lot. I struggled with a lot of things. It was a harsh reminder of a time not so long ago when I almost succumbed, when I fought against something within me that was big and dark and hollow and empty and terrifying.

I'm thinking about this upcoming winter, and wondering if maybe I shouldn't struggle so much. For me, this is easier said than done. But this morning helped a bit. This morning, after getting over the shock of the cold, I looked around and saw diamonds. Tiny beads of sunlight on the frosted grass, dazzling the air. A carpet of diamonds covering the prairie.

Maybe I'll try to welcome this winter's grasp, and take its hands in my own. Maybe I can wrap its arms around me, snuggle against its frozen body and listen to its heart beating against the snow. We'll see.


Karen said...

Where the heck did you learn to write like this and howcome I can't??? Okay, so maybe I got the "clean" gene, but you got the "writer's" gene. I would like a trade.

Jo said...

I'll trade one day a week. That way my house will get clean and you can do some writing. Or, maybe it would be simpler if you just came over to my house once a week and cleaned it, and then I could write you a lovely poem about it. Sound good?

Anonymous said...


The winter can be so heavy on the soul. So dark for so long each and every day. I also find that living our here on the prairie there is less of a veil between the harshness of winter, cold, survival and ourselves and souls. In the city, even in single digits, you don't even need a coat. A couple weeks ago I went from house to office to gym to house in my car (3 minutes each drive) and didn't even bother with my coat.

I feel more exposed, raw, vulnerable here in this open prairie. And I watch the sun rise and set (too late and too early).

I've noticed with my own blog the pictures of the seasons. There is so much more a sense of seasons.

My own sister sends me light novels-- like the Stephanie Plum books. Very funny, very light. Like you said, it is a good time to avoid darker reading. More light, more laughter needed in these short days.

Jo said...

Kathy - I just now read your comment to this post. What you write is so true. There is a rawness out here, untempered. In cities we have adapted the land to our comfort, body and soul. In the country we must learn to adapt ourselves. I am still adapting, I think.

We ran out of fuel oil (broken gauge) in February and the co-op couldn't come for two days. It didn't take long for the house to get reeallly cold.

Living in the country also makes you so much more aware of the value of good neighbors. People who have lived out here all their lives already know this, but us city folk are clueless in that regard.