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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Winter Window





In the backyard of my childhood home, there were two walnut trees. From the window of the family room--the den as we called it--I could see them both, large trees that in my mind seem more bare than full of leaves. In my memory, they are in winter, the branches arcing up like reaching fingers, the bark wet with rain. Underground, walnuts we did not often pick, some with the green skins on them, the scars of squirrel bites around their middles like belts.

I think I stare out the winter windows of all my homes, but looking for what? Spring to come? Maybe I am glad to be in winter, happy in the stasis, glad for the break. I'm glad for the winter almost upon us now. I'm writing, looking out at two different trees, cypress trees,evergreen but the branches almost as visible as those walnut trees from so long ago.

The world is in relief in winter, so much more visible, and not all of it good. In winter, the world slows down, the days grow short, and we have to pay attention to our lives. We can see them for maybe the first time in months, and often, we need to shed everything just like the trees. Leaves, walnuts--activities, tasks, events. We need to let go, to sink in, to stand behind the window and look at what is going on, what has happened, what has changed.

And then, just like the season, we will turn. We will go from the darkest day to one slightly longer and brighter. Then it will be spring, and now, writing this, I can imagine the strange dark, almost acidic smell of the walnut leaves, feel their slight sandpaper quality, see their almost lime green newness as they pushed out on the tree. Spring will come, and the moment of introspection will pass, and we will move on and into until the next time we look out the window.

4 comments:

Michele L. said...

Hi Jessica,

What a beautiful take on Winter! I too, love looking out my windows and reveling in the vast whiteness, the shapes of the trees, and the beauty of it all against a grey sky. Winter sure is a good time for thinking, meditating, and reviving the spirit for the warm days to come. And then again, cuddling up with my hubby underneath the blankets is a lot of fun too on a cold winter night!

I wish you a splendid Christmas and a very prosperous New Year!

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoy looking out at the winter scenery. Right now I'm looking out at snow. We have a white Christmas every 8 or 9 years and this was it.

Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

Hi, Michele and Linda--

We have no snow here in the SF Bay Area, but we have the white sky. We did have snow here a bit ago, and it was amazing. But there is something about the "deadening" of the landscape to make us think!

Happy New Year to you both.

Best,

J

Surya Sunder said...

It is a wonderful picture of winter . . . of the kind I've never experienced, living my entire life in West Bengal India.
I'd say introspection isn't the only things people indulge in winter. In your writing you created a time when dreams can happen, if one is the kind of person I am.