And just like that, the snow is gone. In a week we went from having piles well over 3 feet in our snow covered yard to having tiny white patches interspersed here and there in a sea of matted brown grass. It feels like some sort of voodoo. Certainly that much snow cannot possibly melt that fast.
I just had a memory from my Senior English class. Cannot was a spelling word. With great boldness, I told half the class that cannot was most assuredly two words. The memories I have that fill me with the most anguish are memories of leading others astray. Half the class missed that word on the test thanks to my assurance. I stuff my feelings when those memories come creeping out of their hiding places. Shame forms a ball in my throat and makes my arms and heart shake. And so often, the stakes were much higher than a missed spelling word.
Most of those memories were made before any major changes had occurred in my life. I'd never experienced a great undoing of habits. No safety nets had disappeared. The struggles had never changed faces. It's so easy to be certain when you only know one version of what life looks like.
The greatest gift (and tragedy) of having life unravel several times over is that assurance begins to feel more like quicksand than solid ground. I think it's because the only things that survive are the things that bend to life the most willingly. Love, relationships, work, faith, hope--they survive only if they adapt. This appears to be so true that looking back on what seemed absolutely true and unchanging can be excruciating.
Exchanging hard, fast truth for supple, living truth is no simple task. And there are many days that I wonder if it was worth it--if that girl who was so sure the of multitudes of things that she hadn't begun to master was not better off than the woman who is sure of so little.
But these are just today's thoughts. Most days I recognize intentional suppleness as an ally. Otherwise, this winter would have been a complete misery.
It's amazing how something as beautiful and longed for as Spring can be an assault on the senses (another surprise from this climate). A reminder that everything I thought I knew, everything I expect to experience, and every way I expect to experience living hinges on life being the same as I've known it to be. But it never is, is it? Eventually a cog is thrown in everyone's wheel. Hopefully, when we address the shakeup of change we come out on the other side wiser, a little more flexible, and, maybe, a little less of a badly informed know it all.
Because, certainly that much snow can melt that fast. In fact, my neighbor just informed me that the spring melt was slower this year than last, hence the dry basements.
I'm wondering now, if snow that I thought could not melt away so quickly can do just that, then what of the shame I carry? The Sure Girl can't carry shame forever, can she? Even though I can't imagine shame melting away, it must be possible. Shame over the Sure Girl has stopped Supple Woman dead in her tracks time and time again. In fact Supple Woman is peaking around corners and worrying over her next move in a big way at the moment.
When I shine a light on it, it's not so much that I led others astray, it's that I was (and remain) wrong with such boldness. . .chronically.
But this is something I would admire in you. So maybe that's the truth for now to melt the shame away. Or maybe it's something else.
We've been here for nearly a year now. Long enough to live through all four seasons.
A year ago today we were driving further North than we'd ever been. Before we even got in the car I knew we wouldn't be returning as the same people. I knew I might as well start thinking about the packing up of all of our lives again. Transplanting, and such.
Spring in the Upper Peninsula is an experience. I've been bewildered by the birds. We're so far north that even the ravens leave us for the winter. By last weekend they were back to squawking and building their nests from tree bits they dug out of the mounds snow in our front yard. Weeks ago the tiny birds were back, doing their spring dances. I'd stand wrapped in my favorite triple thick flannel blanket and gape through the window at their audacity. Hearty doesn't begin to cover these birds. They didn't seem to notice the snow. It was still taller than my tiny daughter when the birds declared it to be spring.
I've never understood the importance of the position of the sun until now. The teens in March feel different than the teens in January here. The 'depths of winter' in the Upper Peninsula means you cannot feel the sun's warmth no matter how bright the light is.
Even so, I stand by my consistent statements that the weather has been the least of the adjustments moving to the Upper Peninsula. When you go through months of seeing but not feeling the sun it makes you see the world differently. I am sure of this now.
And like all lack, you either learn to create within you what is lacking on the outside or you compensate with things like spite, alcohol, resignation, or loathing. We are surrounded by both kinds of people now; to a degree of polarity that matches the extremes of the weather here.
I've had some truly faithful friends seeing me through this winter, saying things like, give yourself some grace, over and over and over again as I stretch the muscles that create inner warmth, belonging, home, beauty, and unwavering faith. Friends who have listened through the months of figuring out who I am and who our family is here. I'm so grateful for the people who can bear the sight of me at my most unraveled. I am floored by their eternal and unwavering faith in me. In my head I call them my seeing people. There are four of them. I am the best kind of wealthy.
While I unpack everything I thought I knew about Spring (the last of the unpacking to do here as our transition year is winding quickly to a close), I'm taking notes from the birds and the trees. They are budding though their trunks and roots are still tucked tight under thick blankets of snow. If our proximity to the sun matters more than the temperature of the air to the birds and the trees, then what does that mean for us? That life just goes on no matter what? That immediate conditions matter less than the grand scale conditions?
I'm really not sure.
All I know today is that completing the circle is a good thing, and I have not become a worse person in the past year. This feels like a minor victory.