by lana hechtman ayers
It was almost time for lunch. Pain is human.
This is the use of memory: For liberation—not less of love but expanding …
—T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding
Late winter here is protracted spring, nearly eight hours of light and less sodden a progressive period, subarctic to subtropic. The short day’s humming bulb is bright halo, a calciminer sun that freshens snow and roads, in refracted air that lights the heart’s radiance. Reflections off the animated river a tinsel scintillation all afternoon. And air glitters more than glass or mirror invigorates the listless mood; milder glacial breeze in this brightening season. Between freeze and melt the body’s blood quickens. A trace earthy scent the scent of life awakening. It remains winter on the calendar though now the bunchberry is greened with premature growth of leaves, a process paternally slow as summer when it erupts in bloom. This is not nature’s primal scheme. Is this global warming, unstoppable Nuclear Summer? If you came this way taking a route you would be less likely to take from a place you would be less likely to come from, if you came this way winter solstice, you’d find bunchberry bare and white, with a spare grace. It would be a different grace if you arrived later. If you arrived at dawn like a poet philosopher, if you arrived at dusk knowing what you wanted, it would be different, when your plane set down and you left the blue air up where it was with your faith in thrust. And what you didn’t know you came for is the translucency, a lust for clarity. From which the aspiration arises only for breathing it all in. Whether you had prior ambition or not, your passion has moved beyond inspiration, fulfillment alters desire. There are other places you could end up, some in sunnier climes, near Tahoe, or Orlando, or even New York— but the dearest place in time is here and now. If you came this way, taking some alternate route, starting from elsewhere, at some other time, in any other season, it would always be different: you would need to open your senses and mind. You are here for experience, to enlighten yourself, feed curiosity, expand yourself. You are here to feel where glaciers have been. And glaciers are more than a core foundation of geography, they are ancestry of human kind, traversing the earth, remaking the land as so much life died off, sanctioning new life. The air must have been glassine then, profound soundlessness without the breathing and the breath of species gone extinct. Here, the transversal of epochs and the present in North America and everywhere. Momentary and eternal.