I abhor the winter when it’s coming, begging every leaf of autumn to break its promise to God and remain on the tree forever.
But then the snows blanket my mountain town in newness, grace and quiet beauty, and I remember the true gifts that winter brings.
Once we realize the reality of that which we fear, we often find it not quite so frightful after all. Winter comes, and though I resist with every bone in my body, it settles gentle in my soul and lovingly urges me to look within and seek the acceptance of whatever is in the moment.
So I wonder, as I gaze out upon fields of virgin snow, how might I come to love the winters of my heart just as I so readily accept the winters of my land.
How might I come to understand and appreciate the cold and distance which invariably creep into my relationships? When my lover pulls away to tend to her own, or when a friend takes his leave, how might I settle my restless summer’s heart and lay peacefully in the warmth of my solitude?
When winter comes, I know summer will return, and nature handles her affairs with infinite grace. So much cannot be said for my relationships, or at least I don’t believe so. We are human, after all, and prone to bumbling. But nonetheless, the sun will rise anew in the sky each morning, whether icy or warm, and the day will begin without my saying so.
So tonight I send this prayer to the river in hopes of learning something of the heart.
May I learn to trust the love I’ve known as thoroughly as I trust the seasons. May I surrender into stillness when it arises, whether blown in on a winter’s gale or whispered from the lips of my beloved. May my heart rest quietly in the knowing that spring always follows winter, and that love always follows solitude.
May I come to love the winters of my heart just as I love the winters of my lands.
Let us melt into sleep and sweetness, your skin against mine. The world around us rages on and tears at our ragged clothes like a gaunt, ravenous demon. Perhaps this is the end times, or at least the trial of all were made of, come to determine who among us is strong of heart.
Through the night our souls venture far and wide, willing our wildness to return home amongst the pines and streams and mountains and beasts. Your hand crawls through dusky covers and sheets and finds its place atop my chest. You anchor me, and we travel together. I may rouse, or you may roll over, but I rest easy knowing your heart is still wrapped around mine.
Sometimes our dreams are fitful, terrible things which pry us from comfort and deliver us unto fear. Jolting between realms your gasp draws me near again and we find respite in legs that will not be satisfied unless tangled together. Then there is the matter of our breath, which drops into rhythm as though conducted by some cosmic maestro pulling strings that make our bodies and hearts collide.
Still, in the ashy dawn of another day without rest, you curl up next to me and we welcome our struggle together. You climb on top of me, your legs and arms wrapping me up as tightly as mine wrap you. Intimacy becomes our salvation and our safe passage unto tomorrow.
Have I known you forever? Certainly for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve felt familiar.
Sometimes I try to imagine a life without you, and it’s not that the pain of such an image prevents me, but more that the universe simply isn’t written that way and so it cannot be seen.
Lifetimes pass as I trace the contours of your body, cresting each ridge and swallowing each valley with the vigor and vitality of a man who lives for adventure. No mountain, no desert, no river nor sea could ever outshine the radiance of you.
When you rise from our bed to put the coffee on, your naked silhouette dancing through the gloom of an autumn morning, I watch you. You joke that I can’t see you without my glasses, but I’m not looking with my eyes.
In the gaze of my heart you are beheld, and I savor every drop of the incredible energetic gravity you hold in my life.
Sometimes I like to watch you from a distance, as a hunter watching a fawn which draws from his hungry heart the slivers and shards of tenderness for all life which each man carries with him always. I want to ravage you, but more than that I stand baffled because I cannot find adequate vessels through which to pump the blood of my love for you. I came for the hunt, but found only the tears of rebirth, and still return home nourished.
How many stories have been woven of this thread? How many songs and how many poems have been birthed by those who have sipped of this holy water? How many monuments have been erected for the sole purpose of channeling the power of love into something tangible so that the power of love itself does not consume its holder?
Empires fall for love. Men and women die for it. Life is created from it. The world spins because of it.
And I live and breathe and walk and laugh and sing for it.
So even as the world sees chaos reign and our wilderness burns, know that our house will not fall. As the chains of this life bind us to suffering, I will still ravage you and savor your ravaging of me. As the trials we face test even our last reserves of strength, I will always hold the strength to carry you in my heart, and to hold you in my arms.
We will not be undone, for we are bound by life itself. Against these bonds I will never fight.