Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter's Victory

Well, winter has finally won the argument! Softly, silently, and swiftly, he rearranged the stage, one snowflake at a time. I sat by the window during my lunch break at work, and watched the mesmerizing cascade. Hard to believe that such a tiny, frail thing as a snowflake could help to effect such a dramatic transformation!

Autumn had not quite given up. Upon the downy puffs of snow, he sent his raindrops, cold and crude, to crush the intricately sculpted snowflakes. The world began to look sodden and miserable. But winter had not given up. He retreated to the corner and ever so slyly, and while autumn was gloating over the mischief he had done, winter reached behind his back and turned down the thermostat. By morning, the rain had become only a dazzling glaze of ice upon the snow, radiant and glinting and making it more glorious than ever.

Today I ventured out on my cross-country skis. I had to break the trail, and my muscles and coordination were both out of practice, so that by the time I turned toward home, I was tired, though exhilarated. Home seemed so far away, across the fields.

Then, high, in the sky, I saw them. A great V-formation of Canadian geese, heading due south. My heart was filled with awe as they pressed on, undaunted by the smallness of their wings and the vastness of the distance they had yet to go, not discouraged by the icy ponds and snowy fields below them. As I thought of the journey they had already made, it seemed that surely, even as I watched, one of them would become exhausted or give up, and flutter to the ground. But no, they kept on, their wings beating, beating, beating, beating. They called encouragement to one another and occasionally changed formation for the sake of variety, perhaps, and rest. Now the leader changed direction slightly, and one whole wing of the formation altered their course to stream along behind him. Farther and farther they traveled, into the clear sky, until the undulations of their file looked like light ripples on the surface of water. Then, they were gone, still flying, still heading south. And I looked back at the farmhouse lights twinkling away across the fields and figured I had enough energy to get there, after all.

The evening was very silent after they had gone, as though the last vestige of the autumn had flown away with them, and there was nothing more to say. Winter is here.

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