Singing in the Dead of Night

My last post had me lamenting over the beast of habit that kept me locked in place, when a thousand things of beauty entice me to follow wherever they might go, just to watch them in the journey. I was wondering what it would take to get me to move again.

Something dramatic could always make me move. If I saw someone in danger I would move without a thought to be at their side, to protect them, to help. That is a natural impulse for me. But what to do to get these creaking bones oiled up once more?

As it does each year, winter had me holding my breath for the first real snowfall.

I love snow. It makes me smile. I’m sure I look like quite the character leaning forward on my steering wheel as I drive, trying to catch the glimpses of the falling snow under each street lamp I pass. I don’t care. It’s beautiful.

A few weeks ago there began the first steady falling of snow. I pushed down worry over driving a front wheel drive van without snow tires through the inch or two in the roads. I battled concern over possible changes in plans.

Then one night the worry finally rested. The snow had stopped, and the wind had yet to blow. The temperature was mild compared to what I knew in North Dakota. The sky was clear, and a bright moon was out. There were even a few stars brave enough to shine despite the noise of the street lamp in front of our house.

I had just changed into my pajamas and gone to the kitchen to catch a glimpse of the night. What I saw was not dramatic. It was not a once in a lifetime sight. The fluffy snow was showing off for the sky in a thousand brilliant diamonds, starting at my back door and sweeping all the way into the woods behind our house.

I just want to go out there, I thought.

I had moved so close to the glass that it was beginning to fog, and my own excitement was obstructing my view. I leaned back and cleared the icy glass with the sleeve of my pajamas.

I walked away smiling, the way you walk away from a sincere compliment, maybe a touch embarrassed, probably shrugging it off, but smiling. My night would go on, downstairs in front of the tv, then back up to bed, like usual.

I walked back to my bedroom first, to get some socks. My feet were cold. I couldn’t help but look again out of the window. My eyes craved the sight as if it were a delicacy laid out before me at inspiration’s own buffet.

I was being invited to linger.

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The view from my bedroom window showed me something new, which was the tall, reaching trees, stripped bare of leaves but now in a dressing gown of fresh snow, casting long shadows across my lawn.

I thought of the reaching. I thought of my previous lament, of movement.

Feeling incredibly silly I pulled some pants on over my jammies, then added my snow boots.

I went to tell my husband that I would be outside. He didn’t chuckle, or tease me. He just smiled, and said ok.

After bundling up I walked out of our back door, heart beating fast as if I were meeting someone out there in the woods.

I tried my best to squish the thoughts I had about the kind of person that needs to be brave to walk out into her own backyard, but I knew, it was the silliness of it, the other, the something else that really had me digging for courage.

I started on our porch swing, which is a cozy spot, hanging under the deck. All the other chairs have been put up for the winter. But its sheltered location didn’t lend the view I had from the windows.

So I stepped up, and out, and tilted my head back.

It was perfect.

Few stars, but so bright.

Still, I didn’t feel close enough. I took a look around me, wondered if anyone could see me, subsequently wondered why I should care, and started to walk, out into the open of our small space of land, out, out, until I reached the highest point of our one small hill, before the land slopes down and is overtaken by trees and treachery and a tiny creek, which I have yet to stick my feet into on a warm day.

It began to snow again, with soft, silent flakes not rushing or swirling, but lingering in their slow and steady dance to meet me out here, out in the open and the dark. The air was so still I could hear the tiny creek moving just past the trees.

My neck began to stiffen but I couldn’t look away, and so, without thought now of watchful eyes from warm houses, I sat down in the snow, then lay back, and looked up.

I had been longing to answer the call to linger in a moment, to reach my hand out for the goblet and drink in every sense, make note of it, and somehow give my grateful thanks for being allowed to partake.

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How long have I been waiting for this moment?

How long have I been waiting for permission (from whom?) to just flex my fingers, my hands, my back and, unblinking, look life in the eye and present the one thing I have, which is, simply, me?

I have been broken, and have imagined so many chances to have passed. But I have not dared imagine that in the brokenness, I could still reach, I could still move. I have been waiting for an “all clear” of sorts, imagining I must be healed, strong, complete, done, before I can take part.

The weather has since turned harsh in its treatment of our corner of the country. Ice inches thick has kept us inside, and if we ventured out, our heads were bowed to the sting of it. But still, I have watched with wonder sights I’ve not seen before, of branches hung low with the weight, then humbly accepting a frosting of snow when the ice finally relented.

Each moment that whispered, Look at this, turned my head. I looked. I drank. I smiled. I even got brave and took my camera out to capture a few shots.

It seems I don’t have to wait, after all.

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5 thoughts on “Singing in the Dead of Night”

  1. Beautiful! It’s a reminder to me to look around and appreciate the beauty instead of worrying about driving and cold & cars that won’t start! I loved the part about your hill turning into trees & treachery, this made me smile!

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