I came home yesterday to find two packages inside my breezeway. One was part of a Christmas gift for Mitchell which had been delayed in shipping, and the other was a late Christmas gift for me from Mitchell. It was fun to have a mini Christmas on January 4!
Picking up the packages, I could see outside the breezeway windows that the delivery person had left prints in the snow leading up to the door. I instantly felt guilty for not having cleared the path, since that has become mostly my chore since moving here. But then I thought about how it was somehow satisfying to have a record of those who have visited.
I'm no big fan of snow, particularly the cold and icy blanket that covers the ground here in New England for three months straight, but I love finding the tracks left behind by the animals that walk through our yard. Making my trek out to the mailbox the other morning, I saw the evidence of a squirrel chase which started somewhere on the other side of the bushes next to our house, crossed our driveway, and culminated high in the branches of the big tree out front. I had to go out to the edge of the backyard this morning to corral Bennie back into the house. She's been snacking on the remnants of my gingerbread house which was discarded in pieces on the compost pile. As annoyed as I was at her stubbornness and selective hearing (a true Beagle), I somehow noticed the tracks left behind by a bunch of crows who had been in the yard just about an hour before. I could see a few clear, "classic" bird footprints, but most appeared as slight drag marks through the snow....the tangible proof of the birds' ability to exist simultaneously in both the terrestrial and the ethereal plains.
What is it about tracks in the snow that is fascinating me so much today? I guess I'm seeing them as a metaphor for the imprint left behind by the people who have come through my life, leaving me with the gift of memories or the scars of wrongs done. I have recently witnessed and experienced the aftershocks of a person's sudden departure. Even though I believe that the departure is best for all involved, there's no denying that there remains an influence and that everyone involved will need some time to heal from the damage done.
This time of year is full of anniversaries and reminders of loss in my life, but it also reminds me of birth and renewal. I know that death is a necessary and integral part of life. I know that there is a balance to nature. I know that in order to make room for the new, we must often do away with the old. Like footprints in the snow, nothing is forever, so we must enjoy what we see today and keep our eyes open to the possibilities of each next day.
I am hopeful for all of those involved with the aforementioned personal situation that each will be able to leave behind what was, move beyond the illusions of what could have been, and begin life anew....a life ripe with possibilities for self-discovery, independent expression, personal fulfillment, healthy living, and love. The path may be snow-covered and treacherous. It may be necessary to switch directions, to hop over obstacles, to fly above distractions, or to climb back from your stumbles. In any case, there is a journey ahead. Enjoy it when you can!