On The Cusp


Here in Northern California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the cusp of Winter and Spring occurs during the months of March and April. Raw winds, rainfall in showers and downpours, brilliant sunlight, slate-colored skies and snow storms are part of daily life; sometimes all of them arrive on the same day. Back in March, the first flowers to poke up out of the snow were daffodils, delicate and tough at the same time. Now in the middle of April, having graced us with their elegant presence, they have gone back to sleep under the earth. I admire their resilience and loved painting them. Now irises and tulips bloom in our green world and when a high wind blows, the air is white with apple blossoms.

In other parts of the world, snow is still falling. Friends and family in Wisconsin, Norway and the Czech Republic are probably sick and tired of winter, so what I’m going to say might sound to them like I’ve lost my mind, but here it is: In spite of the shivering cold and my frigid fingers drawing daffodils, I didn’t want to let go of Winter.


The Last Storm

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here

to bless the falling snow.


Let it bury us and all our cares and pains and bury

every one of our wishes and preoccupations, especially

the ones we think are most important.


Let it, which neither scorns nor loves, but falls

on all our lives with the same indifferent silence,

inter our pasts and bury every one of our dreams as well.


We pray you, blessed snow, to leave a few bare spots

beneath the apple trees for winter birds to peck for

food, but otherwise, please blanket our incessant


chatter beneath the frigid benediction of your

whiteness so we can pull up the covers of our beds

and burrow even deeper into sleep like hibernating

bears and not emerge until the ides of March

or maybe even not until the ides of May.


© J.M. Keating, 2018


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