Winter Musings

Winter in the northern climes, where I now am, demands one’s attention. Temperatures can be frigid, even gelid; if one is inclined toward optimism, at least fresh. Outdoor activities usually require a reasonably vigorous energy output just to keep up body heat. Walking about can be treacherous; light snow cover over ice almost begs for a twisted knee or sprained ankle. When the wind comes up out of the north it can take one’s breath away. I could go on and on, but the fact is I love winter: the beauty of the high visual contrasts in the landscapes, the deep shadows and black woods on dominating white snow and the clean, pure cold that eradicates the rotting vegetation along with those inhospitable microbes the summer and fall have produced.

Anyway, I was thinking about the analogic connections often made between seasonal progression and animal life cycle: Spring is often associated with youthful exuberance (not to mention fecundity); Summer is thought of as a time of maturation and maximal productivity- a fully realized adulthood; Fall is often seen as a time of rest and reflection, of old age and remembrance of what has been. What, then, does that make winter? I would rule against death because I don’t believe one can be aware of being dead. Maybe dormancy is a bit like the concept of purgatory; not viable as far as I can see.

So, I guess that leaves winter as the after-life. I know hell-fires are a common conception of what one might encounter in the least favorable after-life scenario, but certain medieval thinkers indicated a belief that ice and cold will be a part of one’s final sufferings. So, if winter is Hell and winter is where I eventually end up in perpetuity, I’m thinking it may not be such a bad thing.

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