the melting of ice, the passing of time

Spring ice 2I caught nature dying the other day. A sharp shard of ice hung from the gutter of my porch, the sun illuminating it like a Nordic pitch fork. Tiny beads of water dripped from its two tines. Out with the cell phone, click click click. Nice images on the first brilliant afternoon of spring on the way.
Fifteen minutes later I heard a thump. I looked out my window. The pitchfork of ice was gone. I was glad I’d captured it while it was in its brief glory.
Less than a week ago this world in West Michigan was like a meat locker. Walking to a luncheon on Wednesday, I hugged my coat against my chest and cursed the frigid wind. It seemed like we were encased in ice and this would go on indefinitely.
Come Sunday, though, the world began to thaw. The sun – ah yes, the long-forgotten sun, hello old friend! – bathed the deep snow covering yards like frozen whipped cream. Puddles began to form. Ice began to drip. People began coming out of their houses, blinking their eyes with wonder. Hello, old friends!
Earlier that day, driving down Breton Avenue, I passed a young couple walking. They were kind of dressed up, as if they were coming home from church. The sight of them warmed me, but I also felt a twinge of sadness. They were youth, filled with the promise of possibility, the joy of hope and the expectation of a long life ahead of them. I remembered how that felt, just exactly how that felt.
Recently, my Uncle Chuckie died. Chuckie was one who seemed too alive for death. He was always strumming the guitar, always picking and grinning, always cracking jokes. He was the cocksure young buck who never quite grew up despite a brood of children. And then there we were, playing the music he loved after his funeral, while his children and grandchildren sang and smaller children danced.Uncle Chuckie's funeral wake 2

My city is covered with fog this morning, but it will lift in time. The ice will continue to melt and the puddles will get bigger. Soon the sun will have its way as baseballs fly out of the park and birds greet the day. The spring will be quick and poignant, the summer broad and long, the fall swirling and dramatic. More loved ones will die and more beautiful babies will arrive, bawling with the good news of new life.
And the ice will come again and stay for a long while. But I will greet it gladly. Because I have the love of family and friends and a beautiful woman, and the promise of each new day. I will expect a wonderfully white winter, to be followed by the melting of ice and the flying of baseballs.

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2 Responses to the melting of ice, the passing of time

  1. Beautiful. Thanks, Charleley

  2. I love the first sentence, and the last, and everything in between brings to life what living in Michigan was like in my youth. Thanks for the lovely reminder, Charley.

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