The play and pitch of light on a tree, the taste of morning air, a grey-laced cloud, the push of an east wind, a red sky, a wan moon as seen through an upstairs window, are all promises. But fickle ones. Moody ones. I have become wary of weather. Perhaps it began when I read of that spat between the sun and the wind, and that old traveller and his cloak, the pawn in their contest of strength.
Weather can be mean; but it can also set your heels clicking in mid-air. It can be a friend, as all cyclists know, and it can be a most dispassionate foe. It can be dangerous as in the wind-gust white-outs we came through driving back from my mother’s funeral in Saskatchewan. (Why do I think this was appropriate?) And it can be deceptive. Increasingly so, these days. As though giving us a taste of our own malefic medicine.
In spite of our supposed advancement, when it comes to weather, we will never be out of the woods. As a long-passed uncle used to say—an uncle who resembled that fabled old man on the road—all we can do is talk about it.
I watch snow fall from branches.
White glooms released by winter’s
and the warm cant
of a January rain, with its
But I’ve seen that mask before
and I shall not turn
my frozen cheek
until I see the moons of March
fly down these eastern slopes
like foxes with tails on fire.