The shadows of winter
Winter is my favorite concerto of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It makes me feel…I don’t know…pain? A slow, agonizing death? Well, yes, but also, discordant, vivid life. It reminds me that in winter, nature is merely hibernating, growing strong beneath the hard, cold earth in preparation for another beautiful spring. It’s there, beneath the surface, if you can only see it, imagine it, despite the absence of color, warmth and light.
In winter, the world around me often seems peopled by shadows that haunt me. The starkness of the day time world – naked trees, grassless earth, perhaps snow-covered landscapes making the world blindingly white – invites introspection. I cannot be distracted by gentle, warm breezes, colorful flowers, trees heavy with leaves, lively with the chirping of birds. There are no children running gleefully away from chasing mothers nor dogs leaping joyfully after squirrels and rabbits. And so, I look inside and am beset by the shadows of those who have touched me, whose memory lies within me, who have helped shape the person I have become. But who only live in me, for they walk the earth no longer, but rather rest under the cold hard earth whose seeming barrenness has sent me inside. To remember.
Then there are the shadows at windows. Short, cold days lead to fewer meetings with neighbors on the street; one sees only their shadows in windows at night. You know they live, just hibernating. Perhaps we need the time away from each other as well. Perhaps the constant activity of spring, summer and fall necessitate the slow, introspective days of winter.