Winter – an appreciation

Now that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and we’ll have six more weeks of what’s turning out to be a real winter, we thought you’d enjoy our mini celebration of what is, let’s face it, not our favorite season. And yet, it has its charms, doesn’t it? The spectral beauty of trees, crystalline, canyon skies and sherbet sunsets, ribbons of breath and rosy cheeks (albeit under masks that are unwittingly doing double duty, protecting the sinuses) and, above all, a quiet that lets you go deep within to contemplate, plan and dream of spring.

So put down the shovel and stop cursing. (Yes, we know you were.) Make a hot chocolate and take a moment to savor “I Remember Winter,” a poem by Frank Pagani of Ardsley-based Frank Pagani Communications that you’ll below. (For the really ambitious, get yourself a copy of John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace,” a terrific coming-of-age story set in part during a wartime winter at a boys’ prep school. For years, we reread it every winter. Once you read it, you’ll never again be able to pass an athletic field in winter without thinking about it.)

Then call up two songs that will give you still other perspectives on the season – Tori Amos’ “Winter,”  about a woman in the winter of her life discovering that nothing, including winter, lasts forever; and Judy Collin’s “The Fallow Way,” a reminder that ultimately “there will come an April day and (you) will yield to summer’s way.”

“I Remember Winter: (A Boyhood Memory Growing Up in the Bronx)”

By Frank Pagani

I remember winter when sky and wind

were true harbingers of things to come.

I could see in the dimming sun

and tumbling chimney smoke from the rooftops

that there would be no school tomorrow.

I remember keeping vigil past my bedtime

from the window

overlooking the quiet street below

where a man waited for the trolley

clapping his gloved hands,

stomping his feet

as the first flakes

pirouetted with his breath.

I remember my dog, Spotty, and I awaking

to the whistling winds in the wee hours,

lifting the Venetian blind in suspense,

stifling a cry of joy when I beheld

ribbons of snow wildly dancing between the shaking

street lamps. When I scooped snow from the windowsill

and made a snowball and held it out to Spotty,

he sniffed it once and lifted his ears with a question.

I remember jumping into snowdrifts

with my friends

and tearing down Fox Street on the lids of garbage cans

between rows of buried cars. I can still see a down and-out,

ill-clad man by the curb rubbing his hands over a barrel of licking flames.

I remember walking Spotty around the neighborhood block

In the twilight, loving the sound and feel

of ice crunching under my feet, hearing the trolleys breathe again,

scraping against cold steel, seeing the curses fly out of old Mr. Schafer’s mouth

as he shoveled a path in front of his candy store.

I remember the moon and stars coming out of the deepest, deepest blue I ever saw,

the sheer brilliance of which I never thought was possible…nor still do.

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