Jurich: Embrace Winter – Part IIWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter has a way of demonstrating balance. It has a way of revealing more, as if standing there naked with its arms spread wide open. It is a time for reflection of the seasons past and of the hopes to come. Longer nights result naturally in more rest and tending to our inner needs. I am fascinated by the simplicity and complexity of winter, particular (of circumstance) to our scruffy rust belt community on one of the most hard-pressed Great Lakes.
During and after a snow fall, everything around us is covered with white. White light set against an often dark sky, your yin and yang. White can be described as both the absence of color and the combination of every color, depending on with whom you are talking and whether you are talking about pigments, molecules or light. White (snow) appears to be lacking in color, but upon close inspection or with the reflection of welcome winter sun rays, reveals every color of the spectrum to the eye.
Winter is a time known for hibernation. Yet during these cold months, I notice animals outside just as regularly, or more, than any other season. Naked trees reveal cute and chubby squirrels bouncing from limb to limb. Cardinals are the picturesque winter bird, perched vibrantly in trees lined with fresh powder snow. And through bare forests, even in our urban environment, it is easy to spot a white-tailed deer or rabbit, frozen by the presence of an onlooker and nowhere to hide. Animal tracings in the snow tell of a recent visitor, one that otherwise you may have never known was there.
The season holds unique intricacies: ice crystals with symmetries that behold mystery and divinity; the waters of the Maumee and Lake Erie shifting between a raw flow and solid masses frozen into captivating formations; sunsets with colors more vibrant than those in our warm late summer nights, for reasons I have yet to learn; our breath in front of us is evidence of life. Night skies seem bluer, stars appear brighter, our cheeks get rosier and our homes are cozier.
Amidst the natural and aesthetic beauty of winter, is the stark reality of a depressed urban city, lacking in financial wealth, clean air and sunshine. Winter brings piercing temperatures that bite the souls and health of the unhoused and at times take lives. Through the crisp air downtown, the sky is filled with huge white emission clouds from the stacks at the refineries on the east side, and from my friend’s house in Luna Pier and my aunt and uncle’s in Point Place, the Davis Besse mushroom cloud is more defined and stinging in the winter sky. Steam rises from sewers and car exhaust is unusually visible on a cold gray afternoon. The day after a peaceful snowfall, trucks come through and leave piles of brown mush that line the streets and piles of salt that destroy our cars. Winter storms leave slick and dangerous roads. Black ice on sidewalks is a threat to pedestrians. TARTA is more behind schedule than usual. People get sicker, our toes are always cold and it’s hard to get out of bed.
So the story goes. Ebb and flow. Yin and yang. Pros and cons. Dark and light. Present and deficient. Warm and cold. Beauty and brutality. Sunshine and gloom. Straight or gay. Happy and sad. Frozen and fluid. Man or woman. Afro or euro.
Yet everything is not so black and white; that’s just easier to see and appease. Allowing the spectrum to play itself out, with trust and optimism, creates the balance of the earth (traveling at 67,000 miles per hour).