Last call

This is the last hurrah of winter.

The last big storm.

Probably the last snow to hit us, down here on the river.

We’re past Imbolc now, and starting the garden.  We’re just a few short weeks away from the light half of the year, the overture of spring, fresh miner’s lettuce and garlic scapes.

I’ve sat in the sun for an afternoon– albeit with a shawl– and felt the light down to my bones.  It’s a bright, clear, bare sort of light in winter; not the sun of summer, indolent and salubrious, nor the brightness of spring, gentle and warming, nor even the dying opulence of the sideways autumn light.  Winter sun is sparse, both in frequency and in character.

But still, new growth is starting.  The earth is starting to stir beneath her blanket of snow and ice, and soon she will be kicking off the bedclothes and stretching toward the sun through the lengthening days.

The breeze smells of damp soil, rot, and a last sharpness of snow.

Ayyam-i-ha is only days away now, and then spring will come.  The moon is swelling back to full again to mark the return of the worm.

Soon we’ll turn the page on the dark half of this year.

This is the last chance for winter.  The last call to get outside and make footprints in negative space against the white mantle.  The last cozy afternoon under a blanket with your knitting.  The last long, dark evening for board games and books.  The last contemplative, gray morning before the rosy-pink sunrise.  The last opportunity to stand under a tree dripping with melting snow, making soft, fawn-coat splatters on the earth at your feet.

The last handful of snow clean enough to eat.  The last white-flocked tree branches standing in stark relief against the dark forest.  The last freeform, half-melted ice sculptures glittering on the gutters.  The last snowmelt puddle under the car.

Soon the icicles will fall off, and Coldweather will bow to Warmweather.

Until next winter.