This winter unfolds anew, lifting great white sheets and flapping them gently in the air.

Letting them settle in uneven creases

and untucked corners, to stretch as bed sheets over the land.

It all somehow reminds all of those times

when you were a child and would lie face down, staring at the soft vastness

as some higher power made the bed around you.

You felt like a cat: fur and purr inconvenience. Adorable in your obstruction

of routine chores. Of the tired average that adults live.

Now, watching the winter, you wonder if it notices you.

If it smiles as it moves around you, humming and puttering.

Side-stepping the scattered toys that you could never be bothered to pick up.

If you could have the attention of a season (just one,) it would be winter.

She's cold and vast only to the people she hasn't met.

Let her talk for a while (about flakes and drifts, unkind plows and the gospel of penguins,)

while she serves you tea.

It'll come in delicate bone-china, of course. And it'll steam whispery plumes

that paint mysteries across your frost-bitten cheeks.

Eventually, she will warm to you.

And then she will melt.

While a kind heart beats beneath all those layers of ermine trim, winter pays a high price for friendship:

Spring.

Sometimes it seems that when you look back

(on cats and seasons, snow days and mothers)

that it's always the good things that change, turning to liquid when you get too close.

But that shouldn't stop you from trying.

For as far as you can remember, the safest you ever felt was when you lay curled in the
December-dark

and a blizzard raged perfect around your house.