Sunday, February 21, 2016

a winter landscape a yiddish tune

It is that time of year when the sun makes grander and longer appearances bringing dimples to a plain of snow, strokes of shadow to a fallow field. Crystals of ice fill with light, reflect an entire world, emit blinding sparks and prisms of color, and the sky is so shockingly blue, wisped with clouds that no longer brood.


I try to find my way in.

Over unmarred snow tracks that look like Morse code start at an opening that’s formed around a small red twig of dogwood. They run east, northeast, turn west, southwest, forming a lopsided trapezoid, then scurry this way and that way before disappearing down a hidden shaft to a labyrinth of tunnels below.

I try to find my way in.

A Yiddish folk song haunting me for days, maybe weeks, I play it every day several times a day letting it in, and for a moment or two it wipes away all else. It is as if I am standing on a balcony over a busy narrow street but many years ago for the street is crowded with people, not cars, and the people are looking ahead, not down, and they greet one another while moving along and some push carts and some sing and some are children, running, and some are old, moving slow, and many are inbetween, different paces, there is a murmur, like music, like street music, but no horns, and I am waiting to catch a glimpse of someone or something there in that street—I do not know who or what it might be—or maybe it is a scent I am waiting for, like when Josie sticks his head in a snowbank and all is white and clear and empty but full—What is there? The labyrinth of voles?



It seems winter has found her voice. Some mornings the song is so still and cold it freezes the water in Josie’s and Elliott’s bowl;


some mornings the song is so loud and raucous it rains like water on a tin roof. One day cloudy and moody a Billie Holiday song, the next so bright and sunny a—take your pick. Have you heard of The Barry Sisters? Have you heard of Yiddish swing?





Perhaps I am finding my voice but it sings in Yiddish so no wonder I do not understand.

I try to find my way in.


And I think, maybe, maybe I am learning what it is to be patient, to respect this requirement of time, even while so much comes and goes so quickly, so easily. To expect the same of ourselves—I don’t know. Why should we move faster than a season? Move faster than a shadow? Move faster than a winter sun?

So I wait in an arc of time called bliss. In the morning, the sky will be pink and blue and orange.