The Dead of Winter

Eva’s lily. Some of my cousins and aunts have bulbs as well.

It is a long winter in Minnesota. Every winter. But this winter has been particularly challenging. The National Weather Service posts about the record-setting snowfall  

There are sub-zero temperatures that make it impossible to go outside for any amount of time. Warming up your car is a popular pastime, requiring snow and ice removal plus the daily spoken prayer of “Oh, God! Please let my engine turn over.” I run down, turn it on, scrape the windshield and then return to my apartment to shudder and grab my books, giving Babe the blue Subaru a few minutes to come to life.

Clumps of snow hang like dirty melons on every mud flap and lay like small boulders throughout parking lots.

School has been canceled, delayed, cut short.

Weather alerts have kept us inside and thwarted activities.

I have seen snowmobiles drive up to the gas pump.

The cold air invades your sinuses and once inside – freezes. Little icicles develop on your nasal hairs, which later thaw and drip.

I dress in layers. It’s not uncommon for me to go to school wearing base layers under my jeans, two tops and a sweater to work inside.

My fingers go numb driving to school with gloves and mittens on.

I have neighbors who are heating their apartments with their ovens because the furnace cannot get their rooms up to 60 degrees and they are elderly or infirm.

It is a long winter.


Every morning I meditate. I make a cup of coffee and sit on the floor facing my lily. It’s been with me for the past 25 years, an offspring from a lily bulb my grandmother, Eva had on the farm in Windber, PA.

It’s traveled from CT to MN and from MN to Texas with me, bruising a few of its leaves in the process. I left it for a few weeks with a friend in Conroe while I hotel hopped near the Gulf of Mexico in July and August. It is a survivor and a reminder of a strong and special woman, my grandmother.

I was feeling particularly morose from the weather this week.

I squatted down and took a breath. I tried to empty my mind. I stared at the long, slender leaves and concentrated on my breath. That’s when I spotted it.

At first I thought it was a new shoot, slightly lighter in color than the other leaves, but no, it was thicker too. It was a bud!

Lily has not blossomed in at least two years, probably from the stress of moving, but here it is, plain as day, a bud. In the dead of winter, I was sent this precious reminder of new life.

I felt as if this tiny protuberance brought a mighty message. Maybe winter won’t last forever. Maybe it takes time and dormancy for the creation of new life. Maybe in this frozen state, things were developing even when I did not see or realize it. Maybe patience is part of the process.

Every morning I have been watching. Some day this bud will open. I do not know when and in the past few days it has grown about an inch.

It is the biggest inch.

By Catstrav

Reindeer handler. NDT tech. Mother of four. Aspiring astronaut.

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