January mask

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.


January mask

I watch snow fall from branches.
White glooms released by winter’s
and the warm cant
of a January rain, with its
will-o’-the-wisp wind.

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.


  1. Driving through winter white out from mother’s funeral is an exciting affirmation of life in face of the malefic weather response.

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