this micro-season

In her Mother’s newsletter Zinzi mentioned micro-seasons (“What new thing does a particular micro-season hold?”) and I wondered what composed midwinter for me. On the surface it feels exactly like a winter that rolls on interminably, with the darkness by dinner always, and the brusque of cold tight shoulders when walking to the car, always. But upon closer examination…yesterday’s walk outside, the fluffy snow had been blown off and left slippery, incredibly iridescent snow. And behind the house, the thick icicles hung out of our reach, looking like manmade glass waterfalls. This week I brought my handwritten order of six seeds to the co-op, where it will join many other orders and be bundled off to Maine. 20% discount and free shipping—that’s like two free seed packets right there. How often we listen to Ben Cosgrove’s The Trouble with Wilderness right now. How next week Vermont’s master gardener community will begin screening movies online at 10am on Fridays and we’ll hop on zoom and see each other’s dimly lit kitchen shelves in the background, and watch something that will remind us summer is coming and feel transcendent in that way. (The series begins with My Garden of a Thousand Bees, which is free for anyone to watch on PBS.) We’ve been sleeping deeply as a household—finally got through an odd stretch of someone always waking up at night and calling out—and despite the bright sunlight through the window in the morning first thing, I feel tugged back into winter’s sleep.

Right now the most curious blips of getting together pop-up—a drink at the nearly empty pizza place, late night zooms with old friends from my kitchen–staying up too late and drinking together from afar, a quick exchange of favorite recent books over lunch on the floor with our kids at the homeschool co-op. All of them carnations on a rosary beaded with more isolated days.

One of the things I have to note that I adore about this stage of winter is how everyone knows where their winter things are. They know how to get dressed for outside, and they know what they like to wear, and everything, at long last, fits!

I opened last year’s planner, just looking for a spot to make some notes to myself for the upcoming week, and realized I had done no less than three of the exact same things this week last year: made lasagna, visited the dentist, saw a friend to discuss poetry. Had I not looked, I would have seen my week composed by a random assemblage of “and so it was.” But instead I should see them all practically as traditions, given that this is the second year I’m doing them. Feels strange, but also comforting. In my emails, google will suggest text to finish sentences. If I type, “sounds” it suggests in faint, hopeful gray: “good.” While I don’t want my google calendar to do the same thing, I’m tempted by the idea of more cyclical planning in the micro sense. Not just holidays marked on the dot, but also observations, visits, check-ins and ideas allotted times of year, weeks, days.

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