The distant sun cast shadows across the snowy field. Winds from the south and west sent the bare tree branches into a lazy dance in the quiet of the woods.
As clouds moved across the sun and birds scattered beyond the trees, she sighed deeply. Sometimes winter was comforting in a way. The warmth of tea in the afternoon, the fireplace sending up a small flame. Quiet music in the background as her thoughts flitted from one thing to another.
Spring would be along soon, followed by a long, hot summer. It seemed the same each year. And with each passing year, small changes that evolved into new ways, ideas and memories.
How many seasons would there be, she often wondered. Looking at photographs adorning the barnwood walls of her home, she gazed into the eyes of those no longer here. Missing them was sometimes almost unbearable. Did they know all they were missed here on earth, or are we not to know what happens here after we are gone? Age old questions rambled through her thoughts as she looked at a photograph of her mother. Her cheery brown eyes and easy smile, forever captured in a moment long ago.
Once in book a phrase read, “How can now ever be a long time ago?” So many times as the years passed, that phrase passed through her mind.
When the children were young, seemingly endless diapers, cooking kid friendly meals, math homework and all the other daily chores did seem endless. But they were long over. How could this be, she often thought.
Looking out at the old tree in the front yard, she watched as the resident pair of squirrels chased one another up and down the weathered trunk, grabbing seed from the feeder nailed to the tree. Memories of laughing at the squirrels with the kids flooded her mind. Just then, a bright red cardinal lit on the feeder, picking his way through the seeds. Slowly she walked to the window to get a better look. His mate was on the ground below, searching for treats under the feeder.
Next to her on the couch, curled up in a circle, her sixteen year old cat. He’d been with the family for so long. He’d witnessed so many changes, seen the kids grow up, been there to cuddle with when her parents died. How many more seasons would he have? She knew she’d miss him eternally.
Was she doing all she should be? Creating the memories that would bring smiles? Probably not. Her own memories of her parents were so good. She only wanted to leave happy ones for her children.
Why think about all this now? Is it just winter that brings on the somber thoughts? Short, cold days. The sun distant, the rays only bringing light from time to time, but no real warmth. Being alone sometimes made her feel melancholy.
Deciding to make some changes, she bundled up and headed outside to clear her mind. Taking in the beauty of fresh fallen snow, watching and listening as the birds foraged. The glint of snowflakes on the tall pines around the side of the house were truly beautiful.
One by one, she counted blessings. There were so many. So much to be thankful for. Events to look forward to. She became determined to lift up others as much as she could.
Smiling at the sky, eyes closed, happy memories filled her mind, as they raced behind her eyelids.
Today is a good day to let the ones you love know it.