February 17, 2013

North Cairn: A scent of spring in the snowfall

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The little herd of deer, as I tend to think of them, are not particularly afraid of human encounters, it seems, though for the last week or so I have heard random gunshots that I did not attribute to hunting particularly, or even trouble. But when the deer moved through, they were fewer by four than when we had seen them weeks ago, at night. Whether by storm or shot or snow, the cold fact likely was they were being culled -- another way the landscape was being cleared and emptied of form.

By the time the sun took over once again, a number of birds had put in an appearance: a few chickadees, whatever it was -- a woodpecker -- that jump and flashed around back of a tree, an owl slicing through the near-dark of dusk.

To me they were signs that life goes on, even in change, especially then. The migratory birds are not yet back, but I feel the skies opening like nets to take count of them.

I was driving late one afternoon, rejoicing in the light that carries us all the way till dinnertime, and thought with bright hope, "Spring is coming." I pulled out onto a side road that parallels Route 95 and felt the horizon expand and the sky overhead spread to a vast cloud-mottled blue, like a foaming sea. Directly overhead, wind-blown clouds were sweeping into flimsy, thin strands, and the effect created a shape like a fish skeleton.

Maybe a cod, I thought, and felt my world turn upside down and back on track.

It's hard, holding on when the blizzard hits, and the storms of change are the upheavals I mean the most. But nature helps, offering you the fleeting beauty of deer or the unexpected shapes of things come and gone, and perhaps come again, if only our eyes are open and our hearts thawed. There is always the temperate clime that settles when we embrace more than the least we can be, and hold onto everything we love.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:



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