Thursday, January 2, 2014

Now is Winter

Now is Winter: A Chicago run

Stepping into a familiar alley,
I pause at a neighbors garden
put to bed with a comforter of snow
covering vegetable labors, sleeping in the cold
I pad to the treed street and slip into sidewalk stride
cornering towards the east, to the lake
greeting the dollar store, dentist, restaurant and bus stop
and people
hurrying in their need to be somewhere else
somewhere warm
past languages and accents local and from a world away
I smile at living in such a place
where street people and nobel medalists
queue for the same bus
that's late...
I turn from my usual route
easier to go with the wind i think 
and fly into friends, 
warning me of the wind and cold they've endured
to walk to and from breakfast
they say "now is winter!"
while anchoring me for a moment with warm hugs
we part with a gust
them to home and defrosting
me, into the damp wind looking for the lake
my hat stays on, barely
the ear warmer come out of a pocket
zipper pulled up tight on the running shell
and thin gloves, with hands inside
pulled up into sleeves
I lean into the wind
but it is all treachery, push becomes pull in an instant
buffeted from all sides it steals my warmth
If I don't protect it
still I run,
I see the water now, goal in sight
I plod on 
playing a game with the flying air
shadows of buildings my refuge, 
a moment of safety 
then I am reminded that nature is in charge
and shadows of calm become maelstroms
my hat is at risk again and again
swirling bags and handbills follow me
as I run from shadow to shadow
between rapids of air and finally
under the drive that divides lake from city
a tunnel boundary into nature's gift to see
the inland sea is playing with its windy cousin
whitecaps dancing and splashing onto the shoreline
making frozen sculptures like a child with clay
promising to do the same to me 
as I fumble to take a picture
coming out of my shell is a mistake
but one I'm happy to make
life is not just warm
it is also cold
and alive 
dancing with the wind and wave 
not to be missed
still in my fingers as I write this
still in my body somewhere
to be drawn upon when the dance is of heat
of relentless sun...
but not now
now is winter
now the leaves are swirling in towering dervishes
not from heat
but rushing cold 
waves of arctic air washing across the city
across my body
in my mind
now is winter

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