Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories
Miscellaneous

Winter Visit

February 6, 2019

We went to bed Monday night with the weather report buzzing in our ears. Because we’re retired, the buzzing didn’t keep us awake. We had no place to go Tuesday morning so the status of schools and the thickness of ice on the roads didn’t apply.

I didn’t expect any evidence of a winter visit Tuesday morning. But as I looked at some of my favorite firs and cedars, it was as if someone had splashed drops of white snow randomly on their branches. You can see above the remains of Tuesday’s snow.

As clearly as if someone was speaking, I remembered the first lines of Mary Oliver’s poem, White Eyes:

White-Eyes

 
In winter 
    all the singing is in 
         the tops of the trees 
             where the wind-bird 
 
with its white eyes 
    shoves and pushes 
         among the branches. 
             Like any of us 
 
he wants to go to sleep, 
    but he’s restless— 
         he has an idea, 
             and slowly it unfolds 
 
from under his beating wings 
    as long as he stays awake. 
         But his big, round music, after all, 
             is too breathy to last. 
 
So, it’s over. 
    In the pine-crown 
         he makes his nest, 
             he’s done all he can. 
 
I don’t know the name of this bird, 
    I only imagine his glittering beak 
         tucked in a white wing 
             while the clouds— 
 
which he has summoned 
    from the north— 
         which he has taught 
             to be mild, and silent— 
 
thicken, and begin to fall 
    into the world below 
         like stars, or the feathers 
               of some unimaginable bird 
 
that loves us, 
    that is asleep now, and silent— 
         that has turned itself 
             into snow.
 

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