By: Gabriela Yareliz
When you see a cardinal, it means angels are near. I saw that at a garden center, recently. I thought it was cute. I feel like angels are always near, but it’s a nice reminder. A cardinal on a winter day is a popping apparition.
We all have different scenes that flash through our minds related to different seasons. When I think of winter, I recall preparing to walk down to my bus stop. My mom winding the teal knit scarf I had around my little head until only my eyes were peering out. My breathing making the thick knit moist to my annoyance. I remember my thick blue snow pants, and my friends who would clip their mittens and gloves with a string through their coat sleeves.
I remember walking down the street, swooshing through the tall snow. Sometimes, only to find out, by the time I reached the bus stop, that the snow day notice had flashed on the morning news screen. I remember the glittering lights in downtown Grand Rapids, and a small mart near the house that we would sometimes stop at to get milk. I remember sitting in the parking lot waiting for my mom to run in and out and the Christmas Shoes song coming on the radio, the winter darkness offering the world a memorable stillness. I remember the silver tinsel loaded on my great aunt’s tree, shiny, while I would watch Univision’s Sabado Gigante.
A good snow fall meant the boys at school would play football at recess on the concrete slab, and the remaining kids would head out to the fields to start rolling snow balls. We would have snow ball fights, but better than that, we would roll these balls for days until they were bigger than all of us. We would make teams to push these enormous balls into circles that would become the icy walls of our snow forts and igloos. We’d play inside of these forts and have our own spaces and “rooms” until the warmth would melt these structures away. They were magic. We were wildly resourceful and creative.
I have vague memories of winter camping in Michigan (I am not even kidding). It was that time when McDonalds was doing the Flintstones mugs. I remember little raccoons stealing snacks in the night and the sparky bonfires. Sparks floating up toward the star-lit sky.
What memories come to you with winter? We are only about a week away from the winter solstice.
Seasons and the scents and feelings that expand in their spaces can take us back. It was the best of times; it truly was the best of times.