Peering out the window, I watch the final rays of sunshine fall in long shadows across the naked trees. A lonely leaf drifts to the ground. Signs of life are scarce in this season of chill. The landscape is brittle; the sun hanging lower and lower in the distant horizon every day.
And so the winter of motherhood. Times when the days are short, and the nights are long. Growth slows, inching along at an unwilling pace. Each day looks so much like the last. Everything surrenders in wintertime. Better to rest in the dark, conserving energy until the sun reappears.
In winter, there is no sign that life will return. No indication that things will get better. There is only wind, cold, and darkness biting at the nerves. It is a raw and unforgiving season. One that can drive a person mad.
On some mild days, things thaw out a bit. The sun peek-a-boos from its hiding place, and it’s brilliance fills the sky. Hope. Quickly it retreats into the long night, but it was there, that brief glimmer of warmth. Hardened hearts turn to puddles, their stubborn resistance melting into the ground, preparing the soul to receive life come spring. Those are the good days. The ones when I know winter is only a season and that the cold won’t last forever.
But then the storm returns. New winds blow in a blizzard, and what once was evidence of an end is now buried under the blankets of white. And so I dig out. Pushing the snow to the side, clearing a path that will give us room to move forward. Every day the drifts get a little smaller, a little less daunting.
Winter of motherhood is harsh. It is isolating. I spend many days under overcast skies, my shovel full of heavy work. Clearing the same path over and over again.
But as taxing and brutal as it is, there is something pure about this season of life. It’s simple; clutter-free. Every other season has weeds and brush and spoiled fruit. Things that obstruct the view. Winter is barren, providing an uncomplicated look at the terrain. Little lives so genuine; the snow incubating the growth I long await. Sunlight slowly braising away icicles. Frozen footprints showing where we have been. Freshness falling from the gloomy skies.
And so I continue to dress in layers and tie up the boots. I get to work despite the bulk and effort. Another day on the icy frontier. Cold, but breathtaking.