Because it intersects with two subjects that fascinate and teach me, the rhythms of the seasons and Yellowstone, I bought a book, For Everything There is a Season: The Sequence of Events in the Grand Teton-Yellowstone Area. Through it, I see the general happening of Yellowstone’s year from afar. Week by week, it lays out which birds generally return when, the expected arrival of the young of the year, when a particular wildflower will bloom.
Week by week.
Except for December. Not too much happens in December. Twenty-seven of its days get one chapter, six pages, to themselves.
And the stretch we’re in? January 1 – February 26 warrants only one page, a paragraph. One. Ninety-two words describe the happenings of eight long, cold weeks.
One of the first bird species to re-establish and passively defend a nesting territory will be the ravens. Paired ravens may be seen sitting side by side on days when the weather is fair and their appetites satisfied, a situation that occurs more frequently as spring evolves. With spring in the air and time to spare, the ravens play, a luxury most species do not have. Red crossbills may initiate nesting during any month of the year. Boreal and great horned owls may be heard calling, this being their courtship period. ~ Frank C. Craighead, Jr.
Apparently, Yellowstone doesn’t see much change during deep winter. Its loveliness walks alongside a sometimes cruel companion of cold, windy days under a stark, steel sky. It’s a quiet time, stagnant even.
It looks like not much is happening. And not much is. There. In the park or on the surface.
But away from the park migratory birds are living a temperate life. The elk have wandered south to a reserve. The bears have denned, sleeping their way through winter and giving birth to tiny offspring who will do nothing but eat and grow through their mother’s slumber.
We can’t always see what’s happening but deep winter reminds us to hope.
The raven operates by instinct. It knows that even though it’s winter on the ground, spring is in the air. In the space opened up by the absence of activity, the raven, mascot of hope, is satisfied to enjoy the little luxury afforded by the sameness of the season. It doesn’t just endure its environment. It more than survives its season. It plays.
Sun sightings and blue skies have been rare this winter, each one a relief and a reminder. No matter the color of tomorrow’s sky, the seeds of spring will sprout from today’s frozen ground and these words from Isaiah are true: Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
He’s always doing a new thing. Even when the grey keeps us from seeing it. Maybe especially when the grey keeps us from seeing it.
And like the blue sky is a gift, so is the journey to learn to embrace the truth that believing what we can’t see is as important as seeing what we can with proper perspective.
And you? Are you in a crowded season or one with a little open space? What helps you to see blue beyond the grey?
Sharing stories with other writers at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory linkup.
Welcome to Along This Road’s New Home.
Do you remember when I mentioned that because I want someday to publish a book, I needed to make some changes to help myself and my cause? Here they are.
The biggest is the domain name. Since I’ve never even given my last name on my blog, this feels kind of weird. But, it’s how it is and after too many years of ignoring how it is, I’ve complied and now it’s out there for everyone on the internets to see. Less obvious is that, because I want to publish a book, I need a way to get in touch with people–outside of my blog –interested in either in me or in reading my work. (The FCC has rules about how one goes about these things and I am all about following the rules.)
The best way you as a reader can support me as a writer would be to subscribe to an as-yet-unnamed quarterly(ish) newsletter. If you’ve read here for long, you’ve probably noticed I have a thing about seasons. Quarterly fits me best, even though the blog-world experts say that you’ll forget all about me if I don’t contact you every week. I think you possess better memories than that.
If you’d like, you can subscribe in the sidebar, where it says Subscribe to Quarterly(ish) Newsletter. Thanks! (Also, if you’d rather not receive notifications of blog posts any more, you can click the envelope icon at the top and send me an email. I know the weight of an overflowing inbox. I’ll take care of it.)
Thanks for reading, for your encouraging words and kind comments, for sticking with me during these years after I stumbled into blogging, and as I figure out the next steps.