"Finally the earth grows softer, and the buds on the trees swell, and the afternoon becomes a wider room to roam in, as the earth moves back from the south and the light grows stronger. The bluebirds come back, and the robins, and the song sparrows, and great robust flocks of blackbirds, and in the fields blackberry hoops put on a soft plum color, a restitution ..." - Mary Oliver
When I read this quote on Myth & Moor, I saw not spring but instead had a vision of a dark and white-stained winter, bare of song, a woman left almost alone in the landscape waiting for the birds to return. I imagine this is how it is for country dwellers, this feeling of the emptying out of their world. I imagine they must catch the eye of the owl and the fox across the silent fields, and share a moment of kinship, being the few left behind, the wintered community, the true dwellers there before crowds of happy summer tourists return.
And it makes me think what a responsibility the wintered woman owns - to keep the cold world, protecting it while all others are sleeping or in sunlit lands. She must clear debris, gather wood, burn fires, nurture whatever will grow. She must witness the clean honest beauty of winter, so that the world goes on being loved - for without love even the trees will suffer, even the winds will. And she must sing up the morning, no matter how cold she is, and count each old familiar star - for magic, for hope.
We have all kinds of winters in our lives. I believe we are entrusted with them. We are not small, soft things who can bear only summer; we are the wood-gatherers and the fire makers and the wise wild singers. Winter is our season of truth.
art by flora mclachlan