“…That’s how little I understand winter, how it can bewitch its inhabitants (for it is more like a country than a season, a thing to which one belongs), so they cannot say and don’t know whether they love the winter or hate it.”
— Patricia Hampl, from “A Romantic Education”
Do not ask me tonight whether I love it or hate it. Tonight, Winter may be a country or a hostile season — whichever, it has me fully in its frigid grasp and I cannot get warm. So I have been browsing through Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season to see what a wide variety of writers have to say about winter, spirit, imagination. I definitely recommend this collection!
As I skimmed through the book, thinking about winter and writers, the idea of cold never far from the surface of my thoughts, I was reminded of a poem by William Stafford, which I think is worth sharing (thought it is NOT included in the book).
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.