what is winter to a bird. and other reflections from the top of the hill.

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is a dedication to the question.  What is winter to a bird?  These are my thoughts from on top of a hill overlooking a field.  These are all the things that haven’t happened.  These are my hopes for you.

Dear, what is winter.  I don’t know how long we have. I don’t know if you will remember me—if you will come looking when the birds have migrated and we are the only ones left in the field.  I don’t know if we will always be safe.  There is a sadness in the Northern Flicker on the tree beside the Cottonwood.  But it’s raining in Boulder and I have you, winter.

On top of this hill we are safe.  We have pen and paper.  We have the dampness of fall.  We have novels inside our bodies. This is what we will do.  This is what I hope for you, winter.

The novel is the first boundary.  It is the language of building a city.  The novel is a map with directions home.  It is a place to explore the history of your body.  The novel is a place where bones bend.  Where grace can be disturbing, and heroes are vulnerable.  The novel is a place where hope is immortal.  Where our mother’s hands never age and our fathers live forever.  The novel is a place where we always have salt in our hair, and so much gets lost in the ocean.  The novel is a place where the sky can lift the heaviest penguin to the heavens.   The novel is merely the record of some person’s perceptions.   A place where scarecrows and angels meet.  Where angels make snow angels, and birds never leave the ground.  The novel is a place where someone is able to put Humpty Dumpty back together.  Where every notebook is filled with blank pages.  The novel is a place where you die in the arms of your beloved.   Where you find each other again, in the snow. The novel is a place where things die forever.

In my novel it’s always winter.  In my novel you never die. In my novel you live forever in words.  There is no prince charming but there is Krishna offering direction and guidance with the sound of his flute.  In my novel I am elegant and strong and you love me like we’re always on top of a hill.  In my novel we’re running along the Mesa looking for owls.  You are far away but I can see you in the snow and when I make angels with my body you see them walking through temples and we are connected.  In my novel you’re not just a memory.  In my novel I tell you I can’t fly so you buy me a bird and it sits on my desk telling me every day that I am already soaring.  In my novel I don’t cry every time I hear Peter Paul and Mary. In my novel you don’t leave when the snow comes and I don’t cry with my shoulders rather than my eyes because this is the place where the wings come through the skin when I can’t see you anymore.  In my novel you are winter and I am spring and you watch me bringing birds home and think, I shall never leave her again. In my novel I am always the only nightbird. In my novel I can skip rocks.  In my novel you are more than your fears, restrictions, and barriers.  In my novel you are a rare white crane.  In my novel you can fly to the heavens.

This is the answer to your question, winter.  This is my gift to you.  To be the Northern Flicker in the Cottonwood tree filled with words held soundly  by the weight of snow. More winter than feather.


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