At the end of the afternoon, I’m out with my skis, insufficiently dressed against the zero degree temps, hoping the movement will warm me even as I caution my youngest every day — bring enough clothes.
I ski on the former railroad bed, behind a daycare. Earlier this winter, a new playground was built for the kids, of wood and ramps, and I wonder if some of the federal coronavirus money made its way here. The daycare itself is in the basement of an old building, and so the playground has a kind of bittersweetness, too, a bandaid of a much larger problem.
On the bridge over the river, I pause. Snowmobiles and a groomer have driven through here, and so the skiing is easy. Animal tracks mark the snow down the center of the frozen river. On the bank I ate wild grapes in the late fall. For now, it’s just me and the fresh snow and the sunlight while it lasts, the woodland creatures, the river flowing deep beneath that ice.
Birds migrate and caribou circle the cold top of the world. Perhaps we migrate between love and suffering, making our wounded-joyous cries: alone, then together, alone, then together. Oh praise the soul’s migration.— Mark Nepro