The snow is infinite.
That, of course, is not true, but it’s difficult to accept today. Take away the National Weather Service, take away named snowstorms and color-coded maps, take away televised groundhogs and computer models, and all that’s left is faith. We believe that winter ends because has before, but in the thick of things, when the snow on the ground reaches past knees, higher, higher, and the sky is gray more days than not, and the cold eats through everything, that certainty can dim.
Living in New England means believing though. Believing that snow and ice will reign, but not forever. That the strawberries that taste so sweet in June, will come again the following year. That the daffodils under the maple tree will arrive, stubborn, shrugging off even the late snows to suddenly bloom on that first perfect day. That, before winter has even given in, the sap will begin to run in the trees, and backyard firepits will fill with pots as the scent of cooking syrup rises.
Ask me today whether I believe that the snow will end, and I’ll say no. But my animal heart knows better. Even as I complain, despair a little, within me quickens a pulse that knows winter is a season, not a forever.
The Lost continues to be messy. So much structure to work with–old, new, unexpected. It gives me an unreachable itch between my shoulder blades, like trying to convert an epic poem to haiku. There are changes in voice–time does that–and new thoughts on how to manage some of the action. Things, so many of them.
I had to begin with new chapters. While I assumed I’d be writing something completely fresh, I found myself going back to the original notebook, the one no one but me has ever read. Things that didn’t work back then, work now. Things I didn’t know how to use correctly back then are suddenly easy to maneuver. Those new chapters written, it’s become a daily grind of evaluating scenes, considering character, splicing pieces together, always mindful of how I wrote then, how I write now. It’s not glamorous, and every day there comes a point when I think I was wrong to ever return to it.
Then, when I get up to go over algebra, or look at a dissected flower, or make dinner, I don’t want to be away from the story. When I wake up, and it’s snowing, and it’s dark enough that there’s really no reason that I have to be awake yet, and I turn over to fall back asleep, I can’t. I’m thinking about what might happen if I shift the action this way, or I’m savoring some scene still to come. Whether I want to be or not, I’m there.
It’s the animal heart of the story. Beyond all the mess, beyond the questioning and the technique and the frustration and the doubt, the doubt that gnaws like mice in the walls…beyond all of that is the faith in the story. The certainty that eventually it will become exactly what it was meant to be. That this between place that it exists in now is a season, not a forever.