We can’t go outside. It’s freezing out there,
my daughter says.
Spring? What is spring?
Winter is all she recalls.
Endless it felt
to all of us.
But especially to the young,
the winter is everything that’s ever been:
lost mittens, and shivery mornings
after the fire died in the night.
Waking from nap time
to a house shrouded in darkness,
and Orion’s belt, ready to spot.
I tell her tales,
fairy tales, she can only assume,
of long days to come,
where — fingers crossed —
the sun wakes before she does,
and she falls asleep with the sun still up:
The sun will be our constant companion.
The fruit trees will fill with flowers,
pink and white,
as we dance with the wind.
We’ll swim in the estuary,
forage stinging nettles and lemon balm
from our yard,
for a tea party picnic,
with sugar snap peas and cherry pie.
The sun and I will tuck you in.
Good night, I’ll say,
to a night gone missing,
a darkness banished.
The sun seeped so deeply into our bones,
our tales of night, of darkness,
will appear as fairy tales.
I was inspired to write this poem by the start of spring, and the difference in my child’s experience compared to my own. I grew up in Florida, where the seasons (and the difference in the light/dark balance) were barely noticeable. In Washington State, the seasons affect everything. My 4-year-old daughter has memories of things that happened in other seasons, but it is still hard for her to grasp that the days are getting longer and warmer, that winter is really ending. After this winter, it’s a bit hard for me to grasp as well.
Here’s another quick poem I wrote, on a snowy day in winter: