I don't know why I am surprised this time of year when temperatures plummet and winter begins to close around us. I know it is coming. Feel the pull of winter as fall air cools the house and summer furniture gets pulled inside and wrapped up for the season. I even like the falling of a million leaves in our back yard as all the green of the lawn gives way to copper and brown. In many ways it is the crisping of the season I am drawn to as a welcome change from the high humidity of August. I look forward to the relief from the temperamental back and forth of September and October until finally we slip into solid and definite winter air.
I've always lived in the Northeast so I have never experienced the dark long winters of the Midwest or the milder winters of the South or the all year sunshine of the West. So this revolution of seasons has been all that I've known. Each season holds things that draw me in and are familiar. In many ways the seasonal change is a constant I can depend on; spring will be warm and rainy, summer hot and humid, fall crisp and cleansing, and winter cold and snowy. But for some reason winter, for me, is a time for reflection and missing and longing for things and people long gone.
I know I tend toward a sort of poet's melancholy most of the time but it becomes so much more enhanced this time of year. I don't make lists of what I am thankful for on Thanksgiving or feel the excitement of the new year on New Year's Eve. And I have to force myself to not watch It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve because I will be filled with my own ghosts that will not be whisked away by morning. My ghosts will stand at my shoulder and remind me that they no longer exist in the tangible.
They will rise when released as I unwrap Christmas decorations and holiday plates. They will call to me with aromas I will duplicate while cooking and gather around me as I decorate the tree with their memories. They will forever be a lost parts of me that I will never fill again. These little ghostly holes that are etched into my skin like ancient crumbling lace from some sad Dickens character hoping for the past to close like a door that can lock them away.
I will name them. Speak of them. Miss them. But never will I ever be able to replace them. Any of them. I realize now that I will feel their loss forever; these missing voices. Their smiles, smirks, anger, laughter and tears are still all here within me and I will hold these things close to me like a candle's flame so I can somehow feel their warmth near me once more.
- ► 2011 (11)