Those bright cold days that used to find their winter roosts in our valley? They haven’t returned yet this year. They had always come by now, before. But today is the same as yesterday and the days before; the air is wet enough to carry traffic sounds up from Franklin and the light comes pale from behind the clouds.
I passed my teenage years in the company of a wild pack of bicyclists. We’d be out riding when the first rains of autumn fell, and I’d stop and turn my face to the sky. A single shower would clear the summer haze from the air, and I’d notice all day unconscious sighs of relief. It would be evening before I made my way home.
But the winter knows well how to wear us down. The inversion days would hit and bring the sky down low upon us. Clouds would move from front to back and the light would fade up, then down, but the sky would never really change.
At the end of a day, we’d find that weeks had passed in our absence. We’d be dizzy with hunger, we would melt into our world.
And then one day we’d step outside and a blue so bright it was shadeless would stream in through our eyes, so they ached. For a moment we’d hang our heads. A breath would catch in our lungs, and a cloud would escape our lips.
Now, where are those days? Where have they been these past months—driven off by warm winter currents, or by too many days of unearthed sun?
(There’s something not right, a change coming too fast.)
When will they return, and to where?
And had they ever really left us?
When they do go for good, will they settle elsewhere or will they be gone?
I’ve been thinking about the relationship between anxiety, climate change, and the character of 21st century problems. Another piece with these themes can be found here: 爥, a poem.