really, it’s dew caught in the act. each blessed bead, huddled along edge of the leaf, clinging to blade of the grass, a colony of whatever it is that swirls in the morning’s first breath.
when dawn, that great exercise in redemption, lets out its first puff of relief–we made it, we’re risen again, one more chance, start again, try harder, or try not at all–it’s the soft mist that laces what falls in its midst.
the cold of the chill night air, the black ink poured with no warm notes, it snaps it, captures it. holds it tight in its lock. until sun, the keeper of calm, protector of light and of heat, rises, inches up over the bend of the ball that is earth, promises release.
melts away what is hardened, what will sting the skin of your toes, if you, like me, foolishly dash out the door. thinking a quick jaunt to the feeder, where the birds, hungry, half-trained, await the dumping of seed, will be painless.
it is the calling card of autumn turning toward winter. the thing that reminds us that autumn is more than a really fine reason to walk in the woods, collect leaves like medals of honor.
the frost, in restaurant terms, is the ameuse bouche, the delightful first bite, that readies you for all that comes next.
as the original winter baby–not one shussing down slopes, not one who straps on the blades and takes to the iced-over pond, no not that one at all, more like the one who finds poetry in stark limbs stripped of their shimmery summery threads, who thrills to the silence of a woods stilled by the very first snow–the early mornings of frost, of waking up to a world that is barest of white, a world that melts at the touch of a finger to leaf dusted with droplets of dew frozen over, it stirs something akin to a purring deep, deep inside.
it makes me want to reach deep in my closet, pull out my mittens and extra-thick sweaters. makes me eyeball the rich chunks of beef there in the butcher shop window. think of wine in colors of crimson. makes me dig for the roots of the garden, potato and carrot and onion and garlic. they all belong baked in that crimson-tinged heap i call my beef stew.
when the frost drapes over the outside, over the trees and the leaves and the grass, even the rocks cannot dodge the lacing of crystalline mist, i am stirred to grab hold of ends of the blanket. pull tightly.
i feel safer, somehow, in the frost side of the year. i am the proverbial nose pressed against glass, with an etching of artwork of dawn. frozen mid-breath.
it gives me reason to crank up the stove, haul out the woolens. kindle the wicks poking from columns of bee-bundled wax.
light comes from within in the winter, in the season we are lumbering toward. and i cannot wait.
so i take my autumn in big heaping spoonfuls. i start gulping when frost comes.
it is the sugar i heap on my porridge.
time to batten the hatches, bring in the hoses. line the rugs at the door. the frost is the call to attention.
only it comes in a whisper. and it lasts for merely one or two hours.
to catch it, to take in the sweep of its early dawn dusting, you might need to rise from your bed in the just-brightening hours.
it waits not for the laggard. it’s gone, disappeared, if you huddle there under your covers.
it is reward for those who leap, unbracingly, into the day. it is the lace of the autumn, and it unfurls at the dawn, at the hour when dreams are just stirring. when only a fool would roll over and miss the occasion.
did you catch the frost yet? does it stir something in you, too? does it get you to ticking through things that you love about the seasons when ice is among us? or does it depress the heck out of you, summer babies?