In this northern place, days are often grey. Clouds hang on the horizon, and Lake Superior is often restless and stormy.
It is a time of transition, a time when the world is undecided. Soon, the sun will rise much earlier and set later than expected.
But now, it is on the hinge-point. We are waiting; some are aching for change to occur.
In this grand and glorious land, so close to what is rock-hewn and elemental, there is this pause. Snow is coming off the shoulders of the roads nearby. Roofs are being liberated.
But always, there is also the presentiment of more cold and snow.
This time of year, we wait. We burn whatever firewood we have to cut the cold. We see our driveways graciously melting. Squirrels seem much more casual at our bird feeders.
So much of life can be in this holding pattern.
We are never quite “there.” We watch and wait, held in suspension. We are never quite satisfied.
But we acknowledge things are changing. Sunsets now linger longer. Morning comes earlier. There is a kindness often to the wind and walks outside along our highways.
The world is waiting to come alive. Ice is much more indifferent to the sun. The breezes recall the soft, summer wind that once touched the waters of inland lakes.
It is a time to enjoy, a time to endure, a moment in our year to wait out these coming changes. It is never so far from our anticipation that soon, things will be different.
Hours shift into days, and with that, the retreat of harshest winter. It is becoming an inevitability. Like children, we rejoice in the waiting, knowing what we want is not far behind.
While it is hard to come to expect, it is also gentle in its reminder. We are on the other side of winter; the world is slowly coming about. Rivers are surprising us with open water and rivulets breaking toward Superior’s shore.
It is a grand time if we can wait it out, relax and visit its uncertain beauty.
While we might want to push it along, while days are stubborn and tentative yet, it rests on us to be hopeful and sure that life is advancing.
Soon, we will take our place among the wildflowers and grace-filled portages with their mosses and rock, taking us to hidden lakes amongst the trees.
John Bragstad is the author of two books: Compass Season and The Poetry of Life: Who's Watching Who? Both are available at Amazon.