In Eastern Canada winter descends from the skies upon the land and holds it fast in freezing sheets of snow and ice sheared by bitter winds. Here it’s less extreme and is more as if the earth itself is pulling in, letting its foliage wither and dwindle while it gradually gathers in its strength.
Now, January, wet and sodden, it has fully drawn into itself, become cold, enclosed, turned inward, leaving only the sun to face us. Leaving only the sun, from distance, to show –
The earth is beautiful like this and I say ‘earth’ because in this winter we are clearly aware of earth, bare earth – dear earth! – stripped of worldliness. We are exposed to earth. No intervening sensuality: all sensations here are thin, pared, elusive but not illusory. Nothing in the air; no thickening of petals and perfumes, no drifting of leaves, no falling of snow, no covering on the ground to conceal from us what we tread upon. We are not within a world – a dreamy realm – of summer, autumn, season, time. In this winter we walk upon earth, and there is nothing to impede us, no life to wade through. There is nothing else except the sun, to inform us.
Nothing else except the sun and, devoid of decoration, the whole hold of this round earth.
Nothing else except the sun, and it treats us with a rare tenderness, illuminating the earth gently, and with a delicacy that is absent in the months of pouring summer abandon; as if patiently coaxing us to notice the elemental details.
With infinite care, the sun shows us. How lucky we are. How lucky we are to have inherited the earth, and the gravity that binds us to it.