The Saving Grace of Winter is Beauty

These December days are so cold the air is smoky with a mist that can’t melt. Daylight is scant.

Walking up Main Street in Greensboro, my boot heels kicking clumps of road salt, I detour to the public beach, scene of so many summer hours of pleasure.

In the otherwise empty parking lot, two pickup trucks are parked side by side, drivers’ windows rolled down, a cloud of cigarette smoke motionless between them.

December narrows us down and opens us up; we relish the pleasure of our warm, well-lit houses, the bowl of steaming noodles, our cats and our library books. And yet the cold appears to ripple endlessly, infinitely beyond the frozen lake and mountains. The winter night sky dwarfs us. We’re but tiny stars ourselves, on this icy landscape.

Day by day we’re spinning towards the solstice.

Winter solitude–
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

— Bashō

Caspian Lake, Greensboro

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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