The Great Mother's opus surrounds me, her hand's creative juices have been flowing, her painter's pallet magnificently crowning the end of the season. The beauty moves me beyond speech yet I cannot fully bask in the day's glory and I walk amidst the golden leaves of autumn with trepidation.
Winter creeps upon me in the shadow of this day with it's icy cold fingers, settling down in the marrow of bone with the finality of dusk. Spring, like the sun, will eventually burst forth again, but 'twixt now and the vernal equinox I will face the dark night of the soul, long moments of restlessness and my phantoms in the deep hours of darkness.
Once upon a time the chill smothered me in twilight and wakefulness, in the few hours that were light, were more akin to half-stumbling than walking through life. As the days lengthened and the glacial temperatures gradually faded, I would reawaken to life again, basking in the sun's warming rays but each winter brought with it a new cycle of internal deadness and the fear of the coming annihilation is what keeps me from reveling in the elegance of the season.
And so it went... until a few years ago, when on a cold February day, I packed my bags, jumped on a plane along with Mo (and because of Mo) and his two sons, and landed for the first time in Key West,
there to discover a cobalt blue sky and waters as warm as the air... while a pile of snow stood on the lee of the house here in Denver. I stood on the beach in stunned amazement as sunlight tiptoed on the waters surface and coruscated back to it's source. I lazed in warmer waters than were to be found in the middle of summers in the Rocky Mountains.
I was enchanted! Dorothy in Oz, I would have been happy to refuse the offer of the red slippers to take me home, to stay on the pebbly shores of Zachary Taylor Beach for the rest of my life, to recline in the sun's warmth far away from winter's grip and give the whole concept of Seasons and Cold a hearty "Eff Off!!!"
Unfortunately, sometimes it's simply too late to give up everything and trot off to join L'Opera national de Paris-- sometimes you're simply too old or the time has passed. I wasn't (and am not) independently wealthy and the prospect of working two (or three) jobs to "live the dream" in Key West sounded more like torment than chimera. So to the "real" world where I already had a home and job I reluctantly returned.
But Key West has engraved itself on my soul. And when winter's bitter bite reminds me of the harshness of the night, I am cheered by the memories of a place at the End of the World. The song of an island that marches to it's own time and space, where the waters are always warm, and the breeze that blows is flowing from the gulf stream. Magical things happen there... you aren't surprised when you hear whispers of a Green Flash in the sky or reports of wizards or elves hiding in the rocks on Zachary Taylor Beach.
For my part...
I am no longer afraid of the dark nights of the soul that take me down in the long hard months of winter anymore.