If you like a metaphor that wears out its welcome, then this post is for you…

After this week’s winter mixes passed through our area, we were left with slick streamlines of ice on the sidewalks and roads. Since I can’t stand to be inside for more than three hours at a time and sided with fashion over function with my winter boots, I have had the so appreciated chance to fine tune my ice flailing skills.

Here in the mid-atlantic region, ice, as opposed to snow, sets a real fear in people. It isn’t picturesque or fun. It’s danger. And yesterday while  taking my fourth full-out spill of the week, I got in touch with that fear. Even though I had seen the patch of ice, planted my foot properly, and given the act my full attention, I had no bearings when I pushed away from the ground.

When the storms come through and we find ourselves on the icy patches of life (there it is!!!) we are told to get back up, to consider our fall a “growth experience.” On a good day, when I’ve had the coffee and the meds and done the yoga, I can sign off on this kind of reframing. But sometimes I can’t help but fall in with the folks who take a secret pleasure in the suspension. These are the sickos who would never admit to finding a small bit of comfort  somewhere between the stand and the fall, where the real nature of life lies, outside of our plans and our progress.

For us, too, there was a wish to possess
Something beyond the world we knew, beyond ourselves,
Beyond our power to imagine, something nevertheless
In which we might see ourselves; and this desire
Came always in passing, in waning light, and in such cold
That ice on the valley’s lakes cracked and rolled,
And blowing snow covered what earth we saw,
And scenes from the past, when they surfaced again,
Looked not as they had, but ghostly and white
Among false curves and hidden erasures;
And never once did we feel we were close
Until the night wind said, “Why do this,
Especially now? Go back to the place you belong;”
And there appeared , with its windows glowing, small,
In the distance, in the frozen reaches, a cabin;
And we stood before it, amazed at its being there,
And would have gone forward and opened the door,
And stepped into the glow and warmed ourselves there,
But that it was ours by not being ours,
And should remain empty. That was the idea.
The Idea by Mark Strand

One response to “Icing

  1. Love the cliche– though you put a proper spin on it. I have to admit I do delight in those moments when things go awry… which is probably just because I too choose fashion over safety when shopping for my winter wear.

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