Today was all about kissing Winter good-bye. We did not shed any tears over his passing.
We tramped joyfully up and down, snow overflowing our boot rims, feet wet with Winter’s remains, socks lost in boot toes, and pant cuffs soaked through. The woods stood drenched in sunlight under a brilliant blue sky, and we reveled in the promise of Spring. We envisioned the leafy canopy we know will come soon enough. There may be more snow in our future before those leaves umbrella our path, but we know Spring is rounding the bend, Summer close on her heels.
We stood on the high rocks and watched the slow progress of a very large ice slab, making its way down river. We were rooted. An island stood in the ice slab’s path. Would the ice be halted? Perhaps it wouldn’t survive a collision. We had to know.
Barely, imperceptibly, the slab changed course and escaped collision, skirting the island ever so slightly. Suddenly, it seemed to be speeding past, and we were off — running along the cliffs, chasing this hand of Winter being forced to release his hold on us. We had to know if he would slap the cliff in retaliation on his way past or go quietly. We clambered up the rocks, and I slid to the edge just in time to hear the gentle shushhhh of the hand brushing the cliff face in blessing as it hurried past.
We did not, however, let him off so easily. He has been hard on us these many months. Snowballs hurtled from our hands to sting him as he went. If he had not been so large and powerful, we might not have found such pleasure in it. Smack after smack. Chunk after chunk reverberated its pleasing spank of his icy skin until he couldn’t be reached any longer.
We watched winter float away as we celebrated his departure. The river cried tears of joy; and we blew our final kisses on the smoke of a maple sap fire, boiling its springtime sweetness as a yearlong reminder that even Winter is powerless to stop his passing.