Winter slowly, very slowly, releases its dark, cold grip. Loss, overwhelmingness, ineffectualness, and a growing numbness to the mounting cruelty and pain
around me weigh heavily. I see suffering in ways that should make me feel thankful and appreciative of what I have, how I live. Still held by shadows of two good friends just gone, their void staggers. Images of combat afar become ice sickles growing inward, expanding, piercing, destroying. With less room for Life, Hope is dodgy.
And yet there are signs our planet has rounded the Equinox, passed that point in the arc, where day lengthens past night.
Within the past week the seemingly bare dirt has sprung new green growth throughout the woods in the hills above the Columbia River of Southwest Washington. Trilliums, triangles of white framed by triangles of dark, shiny green abound. This, and the happiness of a pup living things for the first time, brings a smile. Trees are budding, not leafing. Red currants add dots of impossible hot pink amongst soggy, dark rot. The adolescent dog grows his new, adult coat, no longer a fuzzy pup. Friends send me reports of spring Chinook getting caught from an old, broken wingdam in the river. Cold water surging through broken, black teeth. Cool grays and blues, with flashes of silver… and the water rushes on to the sea.
I saw my first Rufous backed hummingbird last week, about 2 weeks later than most years. I haven’t seen a Turkey vulture over the house yet - my signal that the Springers are as good as they’ll get this year.
Hoping for Hope.
Plodding slowly, a day at a time. using peripheral vision. A wise, large, gentle black dog touches me. He knows.
And I am grateful.
Grateful I was given a second chance. Grateful the 3” galvanized pipe that pierced the windshield and hit the seat where my face should be, missed. The nudge from the Left, that moved me and saved my life, took Zach’s in a messy car wreck at my favorite marina after I’d caught the first Springer of the year. Ten years now - I’m glad I’m still sober.
From nowhere the ghost of Corporal Coulter, a Ranger I knew so long ago, tells me