If you do not live somewhere cold you may not fully understand the feelings of this time of year and how absolutely desperate we, who live in these cold climates, start to feel. If you are not from here (the prairies of Canada) and you want a glimpse into optimism in the depth of winter then keep reading friends.
It’s around this time of year, February, that I start listening to YouTube videos of thunderstorms and rain showers as the silence of winter has become too much for me. The inside house noises not marrying outside as windows haven’t opened since November. However the temperatures rose enough on Saturday that a hike was a good idea. And I’m glad I layered up and got outside because since then the thermometer did a nose dive into icy hell.
I took my boyfriend and we headed to a nearby lake with rolling hills and lots of trees. There was also lots of snow but because it was warm the snow was just an added work out and tolerable. We walked about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) up and down hills creating our own trails in knee deep snow. We were quiet. I appreciated the sounds of distant outside things—the breeze, crackling trees, birds, distant machines on the frozen lake and the crunch of our footsteps. There were also a few white tail deer in the distance keeping an eye on us.
As we descended a hill to take the trail back to the vehicle, the smell of damp earth was strong, redolent of spring and hope. Under all that snow, neatly folded, was a sleeping spring life just waiting to explode into existence. Grasses, moss, dark areas around tree trunks, seeds that will grow into flowers, mushroom spores, little hibernating animals, and smaller yet insect were waiting—just like me—to watch snow retreat, revealing life that was put away months ago into a deep freeze.
This smell, and this idea gave me immense hope for spring. And with that hope has come some joy to pull me out of the heaviness of the end of winter season, where I am tired of the layers, the cold, the darkness. The poet Anis Mojgani in his poem Shake the Dust encourages me with the line “and with the springtime that seems to show up after every single winter, this is for you.”
And this is for you, if you, like me, may be tired of the cold and the layers, the dark and the snow. There is hope in the occasional thaw. Spring is coming. It’s coming for the critters. For the seeds. For the roots buried deep. It’s for the trees and the deer and this hope is for is you. This is for you. This is for me.
And I will hang on tight with patience to my wooly layers until the sun is warm again