Just now, when summer clears the fuzzies from newly opened eyes; eyes filled with delicious anticipation of all that might be; you question our place on the tapestry. Why not several months or even years before, when all that we knew was endless winter? Snowbound, we found ourselves trapped in the cold, unable to step through the leaden, mud-thickened sludge. We laced tight heavy boots, wrapping scarves about chilly ears and cold, running noses. And high in the air we lifted our knees — ready to take giant leaps in the snow — but traveled nowhere. Far below the ice, two fish determined, circling the same small pond, thinking they swim upstream. Struggling I fell, and offering strong hand, you stumbled too. And after first snow, we laughed at our plight, until we were weakened and tired from trying and never moving forward. Then we cried and we cursed and we ceased to believe winter would end. I laced tight my own boots and watched while you fumbled the oversized buttons of your coat….your armor to hold back brittle cold. Snow coated earth until it touched the sky. They ran together, watery paints on the canvas, leaving no distinct horizon to hope for. Once again entrenched. Buried. Cold and alone, we two. Struggling together, yet so alone. Once believing the sun would climb high and thaw frozen, imprisoned steps. But with no horizon for a sun to escape, the warmth never came. No summer to melt frozen earth from above. We’d built a hearth, true, but could kindle no flame. And when we stopped struggling, disbelieving, crying silent, frozen tears, summer returned. Yet, we cannot shake the cold….such a part of us now. Too afraid to face life now unarmed….why stoke a fire here when the warmth has arrived? We were put in this place for one moment of time. Just one dance on the staircase we share. When you know only tears can you no longer hear music? Can you run through grassy fields with feet burdened by snow? Can you look to the sky when you shiver inside? Can you dare to believe seasons pass but return? And what was once gone can indeed grow and live again? For was it truly gone or simply hiding? Can you reach for my hand once again, and finding it there, feel its warmth meet your own? You don’t have to be strong or bold or profound — just where you are — who you are — where you go — take me there. I no longer require your strength to replenish my own. I’ve got myself now….winter cold morning or summer hot night. Though my heart knows she will make it, I don’t choose to step on alone. I desire, don’t require, you there.

Judith Ann Hillard
June 1989