Hello winter / by Christina Rosalie

I’ve blinked and it’s winter; the lush carpet of crumpled brown and yellow leaves is obscured by downy blanket of white. I sit at the kitchen counter, my back to the wood stove, watching snowflakes drift to the ground. My mind slips into a reverie, tracing the twirling track of individual snowflakes as they fall; the view straight from a Courier & Ives postcard. I take a deep breath. Hello winter.

It would be a lie to say that I’ve been looking forward to winter. I love the snow, and the first flakes falling every year make me giddy, and certainly I am eager to haul out the sleds and the snow shovels. It also helps that this winter I have toasty warm Sorrels to keep my feet snug, and a new powder blue down jacket. But winter brought out the sharpest edges last year, and it’s a bit like getting back on the horse after being bucked off to return to these cold months where the sun barely slips between the cloud cover for a few short hours, and in the night the mercury slips below zero. It was this time last year that my relationship with DH felt like it was imploding, as it underwent the fierce growth of a relationship moving past the seven year mark.

In my writing I’ve begun to explore how dialogue always overlaps. How really, there are only a small handful of moments (if any) when two people talk and both of them are actually talking about the same thing. Last winter, we were a caricature of this, aching to be close to each other yet sparring endlessly, our words the serrated objects of separate agendas. I still can’t put a finger on the pulse of the pain we caused each other: what it was for, or why. Most of it was reactionary; the product of external stresses from work and life that became distilled into the small orbit of our love, but it was also the product of a hundred small things: a cold house, anxiety over dreams unrealized, a toddler with insistent needs and disrupted sleep, and an accumulated lack of time to ourselves.

So the trepidation is there, if only faintly perceptible when I stop to take my own pulse. A slight blip. A snag in the fabric of these early winter days with snow falling and warm firelight and laughter. Every small argument bears undue weight, even though I know we’re so far from there, our love like maple sap grown dark and sweet in the heat metal evaporator pan.

It’s strange how the seasons bring things up. How certain days recall others; and for the longest time I’ve hated November. In college, and for years after, I’d get stir crazy. I’d try to break up with my boyfriend, or move to a new state, or write reams of dismal poems. It makes sense in that context, that last November marked the beginning of a season of angst, and it thrills me to no end to realize that I’ve actually this year I’ve bucked the trend. November was full of yellow leaves, a filigree of frost, and page after page of prose written with more confidence than I’ve ever had with a purpose and a deadline driving each paragraph towards completion. It’s all about climbing back on the horse, and then asking it to be Pegasus, and expecting to fly.