verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Friday, December 11, 2009

Awed and Shocked

See  that patch of green behind Millie?  Don't count on seeing that again until April.  That was only a few days ago.  Since then, the snow has fallen along with the temperatures, and it's now so cold that I'm sure it will be April Fools Day before anything thaws.

But make a note of Millie's face.  Looks pretty happy, doesn't she?  She is.  And if you can imagine it, she looked just as happy today when I took her out for her mid-day walk through bitter cold howling winds and crusty jagged snow banks.  You had to be there to see it, but when I opened the door to let her out, without hesitation, she barreled onward without so much as a shudder or flinch. She seemed to vibrate with enthusiasm.  She's undaunted by winter, and I am in awe of this.

I, however, have known about winter for the last 50 years and yet every year its arrival comes as a shock, and even within each day, I experience secondary shock each time the door opens.  I let everyone know about my shock.  I curse it, I whine, I refuse to take my coat and hat off in the house, I count the days until Opening Day, I horde root vegetables, I lean on the andirons.  The catalogues refer to Thinsulate, down, fleece, and shearling as outer wear.  For me, it's inner wear.  I'm certain the cold air is hurting me.

One of the perks of being a dog walker is being so intimately involved with the changing of the seasons. Walking the same routes 365 days in a row provides an opportunity to see, smell, and feel the land rhythmically age.  Only a few days ago did I pay attention to the span of field I was on, noticing how unsuspecting it seemed.  I knew what was ahead in the days to come, but this span seemed so trusting and open, and I was awed by this.

Yet last week's flash of insight failed to prepare me for the onslaught of winter when it arrived this week. I indeed knew it was coming until it actually came, and then it came as a shock.  As I was walking with Millie this afternoon, I watched her happiness.  Wanting this for myself, I followed her lead and began to run up and down the crunchy banks behind her.  My scarf was triple-wrapped around my head and I had so many layers that I couldn't bend any joints, but nonetheless, I felt something new.  It was fleeting, but it was there.  I set aside my shock just long enough to experience the soothing consistency of the earth's rhythm.  Winter is here again.  Here, and again.  Its dependability is a comfort, and I am in awe of this.

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