I start this new post on an old topic with a sigh. Is there anything more to say? For this hippy in the city, the theme of isolation from nature comes back around each year to bite me again. In the summer I don't want to go out anyway - I'm a Stark. I don't do well with sweltering. So I just save it all for the dream of a cold fall wind, or that rare heavy storm that brings a fresh breath of clean air in the thick summer heat.
In fall, we have our brief bit of joy visiting the mountains I want to call home. I run in forests and look out from the peaks and remember what I feel like when I'm where I'm supposed to be. And then we come home to the city, and the few leaves that we have fall, and winter starts to seep in through the windows. The days are all shades of grey clouds and slanting gold sunbeams and long shadows that make morning and afternoon seem frozen in the moment before twilight. Bare branches show their intricate designs, where there are branches to be seen. I love these days, because in my childhood so much of the year was this way. But it's not the same here.
Maybe it's the smell of the air that I miss most. The frigid tinny scent of thick clouds, of frosty grass and icy mud, damp leaves slowly turning into soil, old fermented apples freezing under the trees. There's a character to this time in between the seasons that I think we lose in our rush from an Autumn harvest to a white Yule and Christmas. It's a quiet, subtle, striking beauty in the brown and grey world, but it's hard to see when grey is already everywhere in the dirty city. That encompassing silence, that richness in the scent of the freezing air, it's nowhere to be found here. It's in that quiet, in opening myself to the waning sun and biting cold, that I feel so close to someone so familiar, and so hard to reach. Someone vast and wise and beyond understanding, but there's some little part of this harsh, bare, beautiful part of Her that I do understand.
When I'm in the dead silent of the blue night and the smell of ice is in the air, in my puffs of breath vaporizing in front of me, and a white moon is dazzlingly radiant in an endless sea of stars, I feel Her presence, wrapping a tapestry of dark and light and cold and quiet around me, humbling in its mystery and comforting in its familiarity. I know the stark beauty of this little span of time that we spend so wrapped up in preparation for festivity. In the woods, in the fields, in an endless sky, this silent magic is unfolding. And it feels a million miles away from me.
It's because I have the infinite blessing of a happy marriage, the privilege of a comfortable home, wonderful pets and friends and even a career I love, that I can quibble over my location. But every time I'm struck by the briefness and preciousness of this life, I wonder why we can't just run away from it all tomorrow, throw it away and go be where we're born to be, in the flow of the seasons, in a life away from the flashing billboards that drown out the stars.