The highway stretches and bends white.
The grandgirls are riding with us. Grace is playing with her new Kindle Fire, and it sounds like she’s spraying paint in the back seat. Then it’s quiet, and she is reading. She shows me where she’s highlighted some words.
I amuse myself by snapping pictures on the move–with both the big-girl camera and The Droid.
We’re on the way home after a New Year’s Eve raclette dinner, silly games, and gift exchange.
I think of how my mom would have been 83 yesterday, about the pork-and-bean breads my dad baked for the adults and how he wrapped Hershey chocolate bars with five-dollar bills for the grandgirls. He brought some trinkets for game prizes. (Mom used to collect little presents. We might end up with a pen that didn’t work or a tin half filled with solid perfume.)
It’s been a hard season for him, and he was quiet when we stopped to say goodbye.
We laughed and had fun this weekend, but still, there was an undercurrent of sadness.
Of spirits in winter.
I think about how I somehow slipped Saturday and lost my balance as my shoe flew off and how I crashed into the glass door of the coffee shop. And how I collected myself and pretended nothing was wrong when I purchased the last-minute gift cards. But how later I couldn’t walk because of the pain (level 9 on the scale) in my right foot and how I spent an hour in the emergency room.
Just a sprain, but I went back to Sissy’s with crutches and pain meds and icing instructions.
And the admonition that healing time will depend on how kind I am to the foot. How well I’m able to surrender to the pain.
The pain is actually a gift. To remind me I’m not ready to bear full weight.
The landscape outside is bleak and tangled.
But it has its own beauty.
The trees hypnotize me. Pines sag under the weight of snow. Hardwoods stand skeletonized. Undressed. Fruitless. Some branches and trunks have fallen. Pruned by the elements. The broken that will one day provide food and shelter.
They have no choice but to surrender to winter.
And wait for spring.
How interesting that the New Year, a new beginning, at least for Michiganders, is rooted in the heart of winter.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)