Love Letter to Winter from the American Southwest

Dear Winter,

Please come back, all is forgiven.

We need you, to give the earth a rest, to let the trees and plants stay dormant, to nourish the land with snow. Snow View 1213

We need your freezing temperatures to kill bark beetles and viruses, to keep juniper pollen at bay, to allow for a time of rest and silence, to make sure the trees don’t leaf and bloom too soon and then freeze before they can fruit.

juniper in snow - Version 2

We need you to stay as long as you used to, to maintain balance and cycles.

We forgive you for icy driveways and snowy roads, for chill winds and danger.

The truth is, we need you. You’ve gone far, far away and you never stay as long as you used to. This year you haven’t come at all, and I’m frightened that this time you are never coming back.

Many of us enjoyed playing in your snows, skiing, gliding, tramping, falling into snow angels of joy.

You never visited some places on the planet, and that was fine, and right, and balanced. People who didn’t love you could happily live in those places.

Hawaii Palm Sunset

But those of us who truly love you miss you so. I am bereft, looking out at dry, dusty white skies in which a whitish sun shines harshly, burning on my skin in January.

The weather predictions show endless sunny days, tens of degrees warmer than when you are here. The plants, confused, begin to bud, insects and rodents awaken, birds and butterflies arrive at a time when there is no food. Bears, if they have slept at all, awaken crankily and too soon, hungry in a dry and berryless land.

Without you, life is dull, the sky featureless, void of clouds and change.

Without you, the balance is broken.

Year by year, you have shortened your stay, and this year we still await your appearance. (I think you may have overstayed your welcome in the Northeast).

How will we survive without you?

Yes, we love your siblings, Spring, Summer, and Autumn as well. But there is not even a name for this time of nothing. Without you, we have no rest, no hope of transformation. There is a dull sameness, as we move from January days that would be pleasant in April to a long, harsh visit by Summer, a once-gentle friend and lover become abusive and cruel.

Dear Winter, please come back soon, before the trees bloom out of time. Please stay with us at your appointed time, please help us restore the balance, for without it we cannot live, let alone thrive. And worse, we humans risk taking our companions, the animal and plant nations, with us into oblivion.

Oreo Snow Queen

Forgive us for rejecting you, for all our complaints and fear. We long to embrace your swirling snows and capricious clouds, to rest in cool darkness, the yin that gives birth, the cycle that has seemed reliable and endless through our many incarnations.

I sometimes wonder if you are dead, if you are leaving the planet forever, or for thousands of years.

I pray that we can restore the balance, for the sake of all beings, and be together again.

Winter, we love you. Please come home.

Buddha in snow


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