Thursday, October 27, 2016

Come Winter

There is a dusting of snow on the mountain that overlooks our homestead this morning.  The air is not just the crisp, clean spirit of a fall morning, but the crackling, breath taking cold slap that is more common to a winter morning.  Come winter these temperatures will be more accepted, but today I'm not quite use to it.

Yesterday, in the early morning, I headed out to climb Varnum Mountain with my dog Rosie.  The minute we stepped off the deck her hackles were up and her nose to the ground. The erratic circles of the invisible trail she followed spoke to me of our resident skunk that has sprayed her two times now.  But as we got down onto the trail I could see the deep, blanket of leaves disturbed ahead of me.  Rosie, still with her hackles up and nose to the ground was also aware of the disturbance; more of a straight line vs. circles and definitely something big enough to leave a trail in the leaves.  Moose?  Deer?  Coyote?  The tracks weren't clear enough to tell; they left only a faint memory of what went before us.

But come winter I will be able to see very clearly the tracks in the snow that Rosie "sees" with her nose.

Today I am thinking about an entire community in the small town of Orono who are grieving the loss of one of their members.  A man who traveled to Antarctica and the Arctic studying climate change, glaciers and ice.  A man who was an amazing scientist, teacher, friend, father and husband.  A man whose death has rocked the entire world.  A man whose image I see at our camp fire deep in the north woods on Spencer Lake with the rain falling, the wet wood smoking, the fire sputtering and Gordan's head thrown back laughing.  All who knew him speak of the laughter and fun-loving spirit of a very devoted and intelligent scientist.    A man who spent much of his time on ice and in winter.  A man who leaves a crevasse as huge as the one he fell into in the hearts of those who knew him. 

Come winter we will all need to close the circle around her and build up the fires to warm that empty space.

Come winter Dave and I will explore these woods on snowshoes, identify the tracks of the others who share the land with us,  watch the snow fall over the mountain and hold all our loved ones close.  For I have learned first hand that there are no guarantees in life, that all that we hold most precious can be whisked away in a single moment; no tracks left behind for us to follow them.  Only the memories of what once was.

Loving you all back,

1 comment:

  1. What a loving tribute, Mary - and a gift to all who are dealing with this tragedy.