I'm not ready for summer

The Montana dispatch: 

It has happened. And weirdly, I'm really broken up about it.

Thunderclouds have appeared, hovered for a while and then have opened up to dump down, not snow, but rain.

Which means, quite suddenly, it is Spring. Winter is coming to a close. Another season is ending.

And strangely, this hurts my heart a bit, because I am not ready to see the snow melt. I feel panicked at the sight of this harsh spittle instead of snowflakes. You all wouldn't know it, because of my whining, but I have, to my surprise, fallen in love with the deep dark months winter in Montana. And I don't want to see it vanish.

Not  yet.

I know I have whinged about the cold and the darkness. I've complained mightily about wearing the same snow boots everywhere. How I have gone on and on about the days of taking out the trash in my bare feet and the feel of sand and fresh grass beneath my toes.

Oh, to be in waves of the sea.

Oh, to wear jandals to the supermarket.

Oh, to just leap into a car on a whim without warming it up for 20 minutes first.

Oh, to go for a run without slipping on ice or the (very real) fear of being charged by a moose or bear.

Just a few more weeks, I thought last Tuesday, as I was getting the dining room ready for the evening, and watching streaks of water trickle down the window glass.

It's not just the snow I will miss, I thought, seeing the visible signs of this winter ending.

I will miss waking up in the mornings to the sound of my roommate's alarm - seagulls and crashing waves - a beautiful and slightly maddening contrast to the sight of snow heavy on the pines outside my bedroom window. And listening to our other flatmate turn on the country music station, and sing along while she straightens her hair before we walk to work.

I will miss coming out of the cold, kicking snow off my boots, and opening the door at the end of the day to an open wine bottle and footbaths, hair braiding (yes, hairbraiding) and laughter and line recitation while watching Dirty Dancing.

I will miss dragging all my bedding to the couch in the mornings with a book and making a pot of coffee and looking above a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes and seeing falling snow.

And of course I will miss the putting on of skis and heading into the woods of a wintry landscape that is now beginning to recede to show mud and grass, which makes me anxious in a way I didn't anticipate.

With winter ending, comes decision-making time. Soon I will have to make another choice: stay here in a place that I have come to adore, or go south back to California. Or there is Alaska. Lately I have been fascinated by North Carolina.

So what now. Do I stay or keep moving?

On the Tuesday night, I place water glasses on the table and begin lighting the candles of the dining room, under the watchful eyes of a bison head above the fireplace.

And then a miracle.

The rain turns to snow.

Big fat puffs of snow that descend slowly.

It is captivating.

Everyone stops what they are doing to watch it come down. And I know there are others here, like me, who are relieved to have the changes in the landscape be buried back up for just a little bit longer.

I have made peace with winter, and it has been marvellous.

Not ready to release it just yet.

So keep on coming snow...just bury those signs of changes-a-comin'  and the crossroads ahead for just a little bit longer.


The Southland Times