December 26th is my favorite day of the year – forever. The beginning of the end of anticipation. Mess: deliberate, celebratory…abandoned. Saved for another day. Perhaps, not… Whatevs. It’s my favorite day of the year and anything is possible.
Today, river ice is possible. It formed this morning. Sculpted by the cold wind blowing the river water into mini-glaciers. Inside-out mud puddles beckoning to be hopped across with wild, yet care-filled freedom. Sure footed and precise as not to land in the frozen death current below. Blissful hopping – without a tinge of fear or loss. (We live in a duplicitous world where these two polars (yes, I am imagining bears) usually swim together.
Insert image of joy polar bear and sadness polar bear in a dead-heat to no where.
So begins the symphony of winter in the backyard. The whispers of the colony of ice puddles welding together for a long and dramatic pause before the thunderous crescendo of the impossibly stuck puddles crack against each other from the pressure of the cold, and the frozen flow below. This triumphant moment confines the river to visible stillness while creating a bridge from my backyard to the mysteries of the world on the other side of the river.
Over there, where (in the spring, of course!) the beavers busily build as though they have a clock to punch (if you are not imagining a beaver literally punching a clock, I invite you to) so they can get home at a reasonable hour. You know, for the kids. Over there, where the howls of wild coyotes keep the noses of my own children glued to the glass of the sliding backdoor as they seek out pairs of yellow eyes in the darkness while saying “mom…” so they know I am nearby and haven’t stepped out of the room. (In case the coyotes learn how to work the doors – stranger things have happened!) Over there, where the frozen space between the trees of the wetlands lies hidden the most intricate ice-skating rink. Home to only the sounds of winter, like snow alarmingly dropping from the trees. Or, the reliable crunch of our own boots in the snow. The occasional chirp of a feathery friend poking out its little beak to find a snack. Or just to play – like we are.
That is what was found possible today. We all felt it. There was a report from each family member that there’s ice on the river. (Including the official report from the Hairy One to NWS so our wild experts stay in the know!) December 26th, my favorite day of the year strikes again! A simple drop in temperature turned the day into a wondrous journey of memories and possibilities. Current thought,”my favorite day of the year” will be an everyday thing. (Don’t worry, 12.26 – I’ll still save the title for you!)
“The color of springtime is flowers; the color of winter is in our imagination.”Terri Guillemets