I had a birthday last week. It was birthday-ish, with cake with sprinkles and a Buster Keaton movie and a moose. A real moose, four long legs and all, hanging out to say hi. We find signs of moose everywhere, but I’ve still only seen them in person a few times. Once when I came round a corner in a car and found a bull moose looking back at me, and another time when a very busy one trotted past us in the backyard, on her way to someplace important.
So that was good. We’ve also had a pair of Hooded Mergansers in the beaver pond of late. The male is quite handsome and a little full of himself. The female is lovely. For some reason the female mergansers, any variety, appeal to me far more than the males. They have beautiful cinnamon crests, and just look…I don’t know. Like a creature who has flown through the loneliest of places, a temporarily lost fairy queen, perhaps.
While the snow refuses to leave (we had yet another snow shower this morning), the sun continues to return. It is strong enough to warm the house during the day, and to make my winter coat seem a little foolish. I forget this every year, the fact that it is not that the winter decides to move on, but that the sun gains ascendancy. It’s comforting. There is no White Witch, keeping it forever cold and dark. It’s simply a question of waiting until the days lengthen and the sun rises and the birds begin to sing again.
When I was young and fascinated with astronomy, I was devastated to learn that some day the sun would run its course and be gone, and with it, us. That’s the trick of life though, isn’t it? Everything must run its course, and still we build and dream and sing and sleep and love and try to make the most of this impermanence. It’s not the lasting forever that’s important, it’s the passion we bring to our time here.