Beneath the Surface of Winter

The surface of winter can be brutal.

Ice that could make bones snap, crackle, pop. Snow that needs to be plowed and shoveled. Sunlight that arrives and departs so quickly. The Monarch butterflies seem to have it right: up and fly to Mexico.

But winter, like all things, is more than meets the eye. Beneath the hard-shelled surface of the season, there’s softness and life.

That snow we resentfully shovel when we get home from work is busy insulating the ground, keeping it from getting too cold. Should we get a brief January thaw, snow keeps the soil cool, which means eager buds and blossoms don’t start blooming months before spring arrives.

This doesn’t make winter easy. No poetry I know can take the edge off bone-chilling winds and mid-afternoon darkness.

But if we choose, we could see winter as an invitation to look underneath the hard shell of things to see what tenderness it is trying to protect.

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