Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photo/Text 8: Winter Bloom

Starting from a place of dirty snow and incessant talk of wind chill, you board a plane and emerge, half a day later, in a tepid place that confuses your senses, a place of plants in strange winter bloom. At first, your winter-hardened self recoils from the alien landscape, from roses and bougainvillea, jade plants and birds-of-paradise. You walk from one botanical specimen to the next, as on a movie set, marveling. When your skin relaxes, no longer steeling itself against cold, you don summer clothes and sit in sunshine. The locals, sealed up inside, seem impervious to the miracle of warm winter; no one else’s bones are starved of warmth. Yet you were once one of them, believing winter was but a milder form of summer and not a different species of season altogether, a gray season with teeth like a wolf. You moved from this place nearly fourteen years ago, trading year-round bloom for winter, for the wolf, and you would not trade it back. Never again do you want to be immune to blooming. Heading back on the plane, stepping back into winter, you welcome the terrific chill that claims you, sinking its teeth in your flesh.