Meditation on a hard winter

It isn’t even the snowiest winter on record, but I will have to drive home into a huge storm.

I sit in my daughter’s living room, looking out at the crusted snow. I have never seen anyone out this window, and today the yard is covered in deep snow.

A round-faced teen boy is walking toward me down the hillside, toward the chain-link fence at the edge of her yard, taking careful steps in the deep snow.

I look at what he’s after: a small curly-haired dog is moving around at the base of a tree. It pees. The boy gets it to come to him. The puppy comes reluctantly, and the boy snags him, picks him up. The boy is still unsteady in the deep snow, so it takes him a moment to move the pup from an awkward grip to a supported one.

He carries the puppy up the hill toward the next house. His shadow is long and thin at an angle down the slope toward me. The puppy’s breath is visible over the boy’s left arm in the cold morning air.

I see the boy a moment later out on the steps to the house – and then the little incident is over, and it goes back to an empty winter landscape. I was writing – I didn’t see where the boy went, or the dog.

He never saw me – the morning sun was streaming in the window, and would have made it impossible for him to see me against the glare. The shadows of trees and fence remain.

There are other humans in the world!

It is natural, as you get older, to not just care for things, but to think about the things that need care? Bad sentence, but I’m thinking of the puppy – and the plant sitting forlorn on the windowsill, which I just watered. That puppy can do nothing for itself – it can’t hunt, find water, let itself out of the house, return to a warm place it’s used to – without its human.

At home, my plants and my chinchilla are thriving under my ‘care’ – some of my plants I have had longer than my children.

I’m quite ready for winter to be over.


6 thoughts on “Meditation on a hard winter

  1. serendipitydoit

    You captured the moment well. I can so imagine how much you long for winter to end. We haven’t really had much of a winter this year, but have made up for it in past yearsj. I think a woman always needs something or somebody to nurture; it’s part of us.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Your thought encourages me: I have to start, very very soon, going out to the yard – to clean away the debris of last year’s growth, to keep the weeds from germinating, to prune things that were left leggy – I’ve been dreading the work. But there is another way to look at it, isn’t there? If I don’t do or arrange it, the plants will be overgrown and tangled – they cannot trim themselves.



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