I see a toe, I see a curl... I listen to Wicked a lot. ;)
It's true though, when you think about it. You see the limbs of winter before you see the body of it - you see the fingers in the frost on your car in the morning and the toes in the light snow that seems to stick around longer than it seems it should be able to. These are the small thing that herald the full body of winter, and they're beautiful to me.
You need to remember - I chose to move to New England. I chose to move to a climate that a scant year after I arrived saw record snows, that give me snow falls that covered my New Beetle whole. (not drifts, falls. yes. think about that.) I chose to move to a place where summer can be so sweltering that you escape to the beaches (of which we have many) or to ponds made famous by voracious writers. (that'd be Walden)
Of course, I say I moved here but honestly, sometimes I wonder if I was called here and if I actually had any say whatsoever in the matter.
You've heard me talk a lot about landbase, and what it means to connect. I hadn't heard that word before, but I knew the feeling, and it took reading the brilliant mind of hectatedemeter for me to know what I was longing for. She's wonderful, and insightful, and you ought to be reading her if you're not already.
Lately, since the world has gone sideways in the worst sort of way, I've been connecting more and more with my landbase. I do what most kitchenwitches do - I wake up, I make coffee, I stare out the window at the slowly freezing landscape of my backyard and I meditate with the rustle of leaves and spread of the frost. I watch the ivy, now frozen still like the stone wall it climbed. I watch the Rose of Sharon as it turns to the stick bush it will remain till the snows of winter are done and it can leaf and bloom once more. I collect seeds from that bush and give them to my nieces and nephew, as my grandmother did for me.
As I leave for work in the morning I run my fingers across the evergreen, looking up into the branches to see the bird nests there and am thankful they feel safe nesting near my home. The blue jays are so fat now, and the cardinals are plump little red balls and I love them all. I think of the cooking grease I'll need to put on the bird feeders again soon to keep the squirrels at bay. I've whispered things to the dirt that I have never told a soul, and the earth has kept my secrets and let me be free of their burden.
As we head deeper into the winter, look around and smile at the little death that comes to the world. Remember the blooms and leaves on the other side of the dark months and look to the holy days to help bring your spirits light. Our next one is Yule - Burn the candles, light the night and keep them lit into the dawn, celebrate with drink and rich meals. Be near your family, blood or otherwise, and relish the feeling of them around you. Know that your light burns brighter as the days lengthen and the night recedes.
But as the days grow longer and we move into the coldest and most confining time of year, also look at this time as a rest. The earth rests, and rejuvenates, and comes forth in the spring with renewed vigor.
May it be for us all.