Spring is on it’s way here in the valley, the tulips just starting to poke their green blades up through the half-frozen earth. In the places where the sun reaches, the ground is mud, exuding the aroma of fresh new earth and growing things, and even on the coldest days, the sun carries a hint of the warmth to come.
Not far from here, though, lies the reservoir, iced-over yet. There are still fishermen in their ice shacks, holding their frozen hands over the feeble warmth of their heaters, waiting for just one more fish to catch hold and become dinner. We stood on the banks yesterday, watching as the snowflakes swirled around and scudded across the frozen lake, white as far as we could see. The sand and rocks are a dusty brown, the smell of decaying fish and rotting leaves overlaid with the crisp scent of winter. The ice is rough where it has thawed and frozen again and again, laying in sheets upon the sandy shore. We walked out as far as we dared, our footing precarious as the snow covered the icy surface, trying to imagine how easily we could be lost in the blinding white if we tried to walk across. Finally, we stepped back to the shore and simply watched. There were ducks flying past, perhaps looking for a thawed spot in which to land, perhaps just ogling the huge expanse as we were. Soon there will be pelicans arriving from everywhere to roost and spend the summer, floating just under the spillway where the fish will be plentiful. The barren shore will slowly begin to turn green, the moss and the grass and the trees providing a cover for the birds that come to nest, the badgers and raccoons that will inevitably invade our campsite. Spring will come later here, this place which is still in the grips of winter, but its arrival is imminent.
This to me is life, standing on what looks to be the edge of the world, watching the tail end of winter swoop down and give a final blast. It is life to stand on the frozen water and smell the wind, to feel the flakes of snow land light in hair, to feel the tingle of digits as they begin to succumb to the cold. This is life, where just under the surface of something that appears dead and useless surge the beginnings of new things.