Hark, the magnolias are in bloom! She bridges the seasons so eloquently with her bare silvery branches a wintry backdrop to blowsy petals: soft, sweet and springlike. The see-saw of cool and warm soon begins, bringing frost and sunshine, hay fever and the most spectacular thunderstorms you have ever seen.
At this time of year I can be found holding on to winter in much the same way a small child clings to an animal that is eager to be elsewhere. With the depths of midwinter now behind us and the cross quarter day passed too, brighter days are slowly but surely encroaching and lengthening by the minute. It is here upon these seasonal cusps, during these in between days of winter and spring, I feel my grip tightening, knuckles white with the regret of things left undone (unread, unwritten, unmade, unknown...) and days not lived quite as well or as fearlessly as they could have been. Something always left behind.
My hesitation to let go of winter is strong, so much so that it can blind me to the joys of an impending spring. It is shameful to admit that some days the daffodils, those jovial beacons for spring, often feel like barbs of forced happiness instead; their brightness surely intent on melting away my beloved winter to clear the way for summer's searing heat. Spring, all but forgotten. Good grief! I ask myself, what kind of life is that to live? If nothing else, this slow and simple life I try to lead teaches me to revel in the present instead of longing for the past or fending off the future. Of course, I know these actions are futile - spring and time are both inevitable, and my weather-bases wishes are no match for Mother Nature's reality.
The sun shines warmly on these in between days but soon enough the chill of nightfall comes and with it the darkness returns, both creeping under the doors and through the windows too. I don't fight them like most do, instead making an effort to lean into the season while I still can. In the final days of this quiet hibernation, candles are lit to soften the evening shadows and the odd branch of magnolia is brought inside to thicken the icy air. They are the smallest of gestures but still important to me. These moments are not for mourning an end nor are they to celebrate a beginning. Mindfully foraged and intentionally arranged, these quiet moments on evenings of in between are for giving thanks for the present. And I am thankful.