Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Solstice - Random

It is the day after the winter solstice. It was warm, in the 40's, but the cold air has come rushing back. It is snowing hard but the snow doesn't seem to hit the ground. Instead it remains suspended in the air, blowing horizontally making it hard to see trees in the distance.

We go out with our dogs, Luka, a husky, mix and Ali, a twenty pound rat Terrier mix that looks like a German shepherd in miniature. The little dog doesn't belong out here. I feel guilty for bringing her. I can tell she wants to be picked up, but once I do that I'll be forced to carry her the whole way. She sprints around in the blowing snow looking uncomfortable and hunched up.

Luka was born for this, she rolls in the snow with her mouth open in a smile. The wind catches her ears and holds them up even though they are normally floppy. After we walk awhile even the husky is taking things seriously, head low to the ground trotting in a business like way rather than bounding and rolling in the snow.

Humans don't belong out here. I can feel the wind through my Carhartt , my cap and my snow pants. I thought I was dressed warmly, but I can feel the warmth leaking away into the wind. We are in an open field and my face is freezing pretty quickly. I turn around for a minute with my back to the wind. I think of an old James Taylor song and a snippet of it runs through my mind, "Lord knows when the cold wind blows it'll turn your head around".

Normally we would cross the top of the field, you can see more distance that way. This isn't a normal day and we make a quick decision to head for a trail that follows down a ravine into the woods. I doubt any animals are moving in this. They've found some bramble or grove of evergreens and have hunkered down waiting for the wind to pass.

In the woods its relatively calm, but we can hear the wind roaring in the branches of the larger trees. They sway and move like they have woken from sleep. Their limbs creak and crack like they are stiff from standing still for such a long time. It doesn't take much to imagine them pulling their trunks from the ground to walk off swaying and groaning. The little dog looks warmer now but she is nervous and on the alert because of the wind and moaning trees.

Something in me is a little bit afraid as well. Not of the trees falling in the wind --This is not like that. It is more knowledge or instinct that if I stop moving the heat will be drawn from my body in short order. I imagine a husky dog sitting by my frozen body like some Jack London Story. If I fell for some reason I wonder if she would run for help or curl up next to me. I hope so.

It's funny, but the moving trees have put me in mind of something that happened in the summer. I'm not sure if I discovered this myself or read about someone else seeing it first. Perhaps reading it allowed me to see it.

I was walking through weeds and grass. Looking down my eye was drawn to one grassy plant animated, jerking around like it was dancing. I stooped down and watched as the plant continued to dance, the surrounding plants almost still. The more I watched the plant the more I wondered how it could move that way. Delicately balanced and touched in jsut the right way by the breeze.

People can be like plants, moved in unexpected ways by unseen forces. I wonder if the plant moves on purpose.

Eventually we cut up the side of the ravine and headed home across the field with the wind at our back.

No comments: