The winter skies are blank- empty like a still pool of water, reflecting. They wait, as we do, for the world to erupt in color and bright song. We need this empty time, these white skies, to recalibrate. We need to take stock of ourselves as we stand, alone. Alone, away from the brightness of other people, away from the brightness and abundance of the more colorful seasons. We stand in front of the grey canvas of sky, trying to pick out clouds as they hide themselves behind each other, all the same. We stop, breathe in clean air- cold and sweet and empty, and ready our hearts and minds for flowers, for blue, for warmth, for sweetness. We are expectant, impatiently patient.
The Earth gets softer every day. It’s as if she breathes like we do- fuller with the warming air. In the mornings, she exhales mist hovering in the grass, hugging sleeping buildings. Up, up, up, riding the wings of pigeons just taking their first laps. The last few months she has lain immobile, hopeful that she and her subterranean companions would be saved by their masquerade. “If I don’t move,” she whispers, “maybe they won’t see me.” I stay inside, ignoring, turning my back. No, I don’t see you, all frozen and cold. I’ll wait for spring.
The Earth gets softer every day. It’s an invitation for movement, not the long mud of winter. She is supple with warmth and hope, embracing seeds that fell in the frenzied harvest so long ago. She is a patient caretaker, provider, overseer. She welcomes our hands testing soil with gloves. Is it ready? Am I ready? Will this really become the lush oasis that seems so long ago? Will we really wear sunhats and shorts and get soil between our toes as we spray the dark earth with a hose turned on high? Yes, she says. Yes. The crocuses tell you so.
Yesterday I saw a cloud, hovering there in front of the building. I’d never seen a cloud hover before, lingering like it was waiting for just the right moment to erupt into vapor. As I approached the cloud, hundreds of feet in the air, I noticed it had a companion. Light, a certain-ness of light that made it glow far ahead of me, rising hesitantly behind me. First it hit the building. Then it fractured into thousands of individual rays, which confidently burst through the cloud like God’s own hand.
And the building, it is pink. Tall, confident, powerfully, particularly pink. Stories tall, the tallest tower, windows rosy and shining. It is planted pink at the foot of the bridge and rises up proudly for all of us bridge-crossers to see. I didn’t dare turn around, to see the source of this holy illusion. I was car-bound. But instead, I kept one eye on the road and trained the other on the light- the way it sends it fingers, one by one, to pierce the cloud as it hovered on the building , proudly pink. On the cyclist who had the luxury of stopping to capture this moment on film.
But alas, I only have my mind and my pen to keep me company, to disbelievingly remember this image that I hope I will remember as clearly as the time I saw a rainbow framing a sunset. In these moments when we don’t dare reach for our cameras, the times when we let our eyes be the lenses, the times we let our lashes be the shutters are crystalline, perfect in imperfect memory.