One of the most difficult things about winter is the way that darkness begins early in the evening and then lingers past the ringing of our alarm clock. It is hard to climb out of a warm bed into the cold dark, the window panes acting like mirrors that show a grouchy woman tripping over cats who swarm about her ankles, demanding to be fed. During the middle of the winter, we eat breakfast in the dark, and it is still dark when With-a-Why walks out to the school bus.
When I was a kid, I hated waiting for the school bus in the dark and cold, my legs getting numb as the wind hurled snow at legs protected only by green kneesocks. I didn’t like the rush of cars going past in the slush, the glare of their headlights making it impossible to see if the people in them were neighbors I knew or strangers who might stop and say something weird to me.
My children do not walk very far to get the school bus, and they have reflective strips on their coats and backpacks so that the stray car that comes down this country road can see them. But still, it is a relief when the days get longer. Today I noticed that when With-a-Why walked out to wait for the school bus, the front yard was filled with blue light, sunshine highlighting snow on the tree branches, morning sunshine just ready to pour into the yard and melt the snow. Another sign that we are moving toward spring.