The warm days of this past weekend melted some of the ice in creeks, streams and drainage ditches, but not all of it. Open water flowed between small, elaborate ice cliffs that had been formed and carved in the previous hard freezes.
Everything is quieter in the winter. Over the weekend, if you sat by a stream for long enough, there was enough water flow to hear it burble like it would in spring, only in a lower key.
Indeed, even in the dead of winter, most water bodies don’t freeze all the way down. Even when most of us mammals have our work cut out for us to stay warm and safe in the increasing dark, water flows, tree roots grow and life goes on. Hares and other critters put on special winter garb, as do we. Squirrels feast on food that has been carefully saved from the busier seasons. As do we, though perhaps to a lesser extent than our forebears.
Certainly our celebrations of winter holidays are part of how we’ve evolved to make the most of the season, too. Fellow-feeling grows with each special song sung, greeting offered and gift given. May the care of family, friends and neighbors, like water under the ice, provide comfort and joy to everyone in our communities.
“As wrongheaded and deadly as humans can be,” novelist David James Duncan wrote, “we haven’t eradicated love or water yet.”
From all of us at the Islander to all of you, a very happy Winter Solstice and a very Merry Christmas!