Nothing makes me feel more present, more in the moment, than winter. The cold is a constant reminder that I’m still alive- that I’m still cold. That I’m a living thing that can be cold. The wind shoots right through me, bounces and ricochets against the bones in my rib cage, and seeps out of me along with whatever warmth I had managed to store there. It’s painful, yet oddly exhilarating.
After a few short winter days I’ll be under a hot sun, longing for ice water. I try to appreciate the ice in winter while I can. I fail daily.
I look at the trees outside the window of the Number 26 bus. They reach toward the sky, like skeleton hands. Their silhouettes like empty upside down anatomical hearts, the twisting branches like veins and arteries wrapping around an empty void. In three months they’ll be filled with green, continuing their fruitless journey to the sun.
The buses windows and roof scrape and scratch against branches that unknowingly grew too far into the road. They will be beaten relentlessly, daily, until they’ve finally snapped off. Yet they will grow in again, never ceasing their conquest of abhorring the void left by the road. The bus cuts and digs a tunnel through this thicket of forest. Leaving behind a rectangular void surrounded by improaching leaves. A never ending battle between bus and forest. Only the trees don’t even know their fighting. In the same way, their ceaseless reaching for the sun, climbing over each other, trying to get closer to an unimaginably distant star, that they don’t know they cannot possibly reach.
Am I really any different? Are any of us?
Yet we never stop growing. Like a smiling Sisyphus, chasing a boulder tumbling down a mountain.
I wrap my arms around myself and shiver, the cold making me feel alive. I breath in cold air, and exhale warmth.
Come spring tiny pine seeds buried in the cracks and crevices of this road will germinate, and some will reach towards the warmth and light, the Number 26 bus will unknowingly crush them ruthlessly. Yet, there is something inexplicably hopeful in the image of a sprout- any sprout. No matter how treacherous its circumstance may be. It lives, completely undeterred.
Other seeds will get eaten up by pigeons and carried off to be planted somewhere I can only dream of. Where it’ll grow into an army of relentlessly tall pines. Standing tall and evergreen in the heart of winters.