There are brown patches of leafy ground revealed now. Snow melting at the edges. Puddles where once there was ice. The earth is softening up. Winter ends in less than two weeks and it will not return again for another nine months.
Today I believe that is possible. That winter will end this year. Yes, it will snow again for sure. It is even snowing now—lightly, unobtrusively—but I will let it be.
The shift is in my mood, too. I walk instead of trudge. I look up, instead of down in fear of slipping on ice.
All night, chunks of snow and ice slid off the roof with a clunk and thump. I thought of the lake in spring—much later than now, April? May?—and how as it softened it would moan. Expanding and contracting, the sun, the warmth was too much for the ice. It fought well but it had to melt. At night you would hear the cracks and the rips and the screams of the ice, coming together and falling apart. The whole became parts, floes, white and then translucent and then gone.
My sister would wager a bet: who will be the first to go swimming? She would always win. Fearless, she took the water when there were still visible chunks moving shoreward. She would get to her knees, her waist, her shoulders, her long hair fanning out behind her on the dark water. She would submerge her head and come up again, breathing out hard, triumphant, the ice behind her inching imperceptibly toward shore.
Two weeks and it ends, nine months and it returns. This is the way. And in between are days of tree branches tinged pink, then green. Forsythia breathing to life its yellowness against a gray, sodden lawn. Crocus and then daffodils, dotting the snow. And finally the tulips and lilacs, the trees with bright new leaves.
In two weeks it is spring. I believe that now.