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Apostrophe To Winter

by Ken Sanes

I think I can say that I accept you, Winter.
I accept you because I know you arenít really the death of nature.
At worst, you are a dry run,
and the skeletons of trees you are known for
only look like they are lost to life.
So I accept you, as the world around me undergoes a familiar change
from a bright hot sun to cooler temperatures to freezing cold,
with an overcast sky full of haze
and long nights followed by short grim days.
I accept you because Iíve been through this before and I know the drill.
I know what itís like waking up when itís dark
and eating dinner when itís dark all over again.
I also know what it's like facing another gray day,
trying to walk outside, bundled up, while Iím buffeted by the wind,
in a world that is a place we need shelter from,
and not at all like a place where we can realize our ideals.
But, in addition, I accept you Winter
because I know the simple pleasures produced by the cold.
I know the excitement of huddling around a crackling fire
holding out the seasonal equivalent of jazz hands, trying to get warm,
and the experience of feeling comfortable and secure indoors
as children sled down the street outside my window,
laughing and shouting with unselfconscious happiness.
I even know your anomalies, including the austere beauty
of clear crisp nights when everything is still
and the blanket of fresh snow covering lawns and branches
looks luminous in the moonlight,
with a storybook quality that is almost otherworldly in its perfection.
But mostly I accept you, Winter,
because I know that, when patience is almost at an end,
a day is approaching that will be less dark and cold
as the story of the seasons begins to turn a page
and the next chapter, on spring, is about to unfold.
Then, just as expected, the weather gets mild
and the piles of snow melt away,
leaving islands of ice that suddenly look out of place
until finally there is a day when the bare branches sprout leaves
that are soon cascading over the landscape in a rich profusion
as everything is bathed in a clear bright light
and, inexplicably, it seems like the world is so filled with goodness
we can pluck it from the trees,
and nature is teeming with living things,
and people have reasons to be outdoors, and we are grateful to be alive.
So I accept you, Winter, as my eyes track the falling leaves,
and I prepare for another descent into the darkness and cold.
I accept the fact that nature will tell this same story well into the future
even though a spring day will come when I am not among those who are told.


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