By January, the world has gotten used to being brittle.
The spindly-armed trees are now comfortable in their nakedness, shaggy-coated pines providing the forest with its meager insulation.
The layer of frozen snow gives the impression that the earth has been peeled back, to reveal its frigid skull. Even your breath forms bone white clouds.
The impression of lifelessness is an illusion. Spend a few minutes outdoors in a good coat, and you’ll know. The biting air brings the color out in your cheeks, stars invigorated by long dark nights.
There’s nothing brighter than a sunny morning after a snow, the bright white world reflecting back the sun.
Go for a walk, cup of coffee just a bit slippery in your mittened hands, and you might see a procession of deer crossing a dirt road. They turn to look at you, and you lock eyes with one.
Then they spring like dancers, tails raised like plumes.
Beneath your feet are pockets of life, of warmth, hibernating for the new year. Plants still coiled within their seeds, squirrels nestled in the corpses of trees, birds among the branches, fat with cold.
When you return to your house, you realize that this, too, is the pocket of warmth in which you hibernate.
The world is quiet – it hasn’t yet woken – but only from sleep can new life spring.
About the Author
Brooksie C. Fontaine was accepted into college at fifteen and graduate school at nineteen. She has an MFA in English, and is currently completing a second MFA in Illustration.