I put my coat on and step outside. The key is in my pocket for our mailbox that is a half mile down the road. Hayes has his pushcart and he is bundled up. I couldn’t get his thumb in the hole in his mitten, but he doesn’t care as much as I probably do. The air crisp. My nose starts running within minutes. My eyes water as the wind whips up the hill. In the wind, though I hear the Robin overhead. Wandering down our driveway stopping often to wait for Hayes who is picking up rocks and placing them in his cart, I notice the snow and ice on our driveway is gone. I see the moss bright green against the white snow that is left still. A reminder of the days we got nearly 2.5 feet in a day and a promise of the life that slept on those cold nights.
As we continued walking and noticing every rock that was appearing I thought about last week. I remembered that I was holding Hayes’s hand because it was icey and the snow had fallen just days before. I then thought back to the weekend we moved in barely two months before and walking to the mailbox needing to wear snow pants because the snow was to my knees. This daily practice of a routine in our lives had become a measure of our life and seasons.
The drive I do three times a week to take Hayes to out of home care, has also become something similar. Watching the ground go from snow covered to green and grassy or even how the light lingers later these days or the sun rises before we leave the house in the morning.
We very often lose sight of how our world changes so rapidly. In the moments winter feels long or is trying to us or we are struggling within ourselves with something, we have to hold to routines and rituals in our life to be the markers we need to know just how far we have come. It doesn’t have to be anything major or even something we make become a part of our routine. All we need is a routine task in our day to use as that place in our day-to-day where we can mentally acknowledge how the light changes or how the deer finally started making tracks in the snow. The world around us shifts silently and without finding a place in our day to acknowledge it, we very easily will miss it.
At times I need this small connection to the world around me more than other times. When I feel off kilter or my body is aching for something that isn’t here yet, I realize these moments are where we need grounding and that is what this routine does for me. On the harder days, I find calm by being aware of how the snow has melted or how cold the air is today. Call it a meditation of sorts, but the way it places my feet on solid ground is hard to disagree with.
As I begin this week I am noticing how the deer are moving more and the coyotes are howling more at night. The Sumac the deer have left behind through the winter is bright red than this winter. The trees have greener tones. The ground though brown and muddy freezes at night and warms in the sun in the day. Winter feels shorter than normal and I knew it would be the moment the deer came out of hiding even during the cold days of February. They always know something we cannot forecast. These simple shifts in the day are signs that only by choosing to be aware of them we will ever see.
Gathering the mail that chilly day, I walked over frozen ice from the melting a few days prior. It creaked and crackled under my feet, under it though, the grass was green. I thought what a beautiful thing it is to know even under something so cold and frozen life exists ready to come out in the right moments.