Winter Calm

Calm and quiet
A chance to really see it.

Look over the bridge and watch the waves come in from the sea,

Pushing with force, they urge the water back into the channel that runs alongside the towns factory, gathering speed raising higher and higher under the bridge beneath my feet, until eventually losing momentum, dissipating,
Becoming calm.

Maybe the waves were eased into restfulness by the beauty of the sunset,
Pinks, oranges, and wonder, swirl above the mountain peaks, snow covered and majestic, surveying the town.

As the one-cart-train rattles by, barriers beeping shut, I stand and watch.

Land of the rising sun,
“Maybe it should be the land of the setting sun”, she said
“These sunsets are incredible”,
This place’s beauty never ceases to amaze all who visit her.

Rural, small-town Japan; a chance – if you let it – to be still, quiet ,and witness something special,
Where there is space in abundance, plenty of time, and swathes of nature at every turn.

Remember to let it wow you.

Elementary kids teeter totter on their thin blades as they skate around what used to be the junior high playing field, now coated and curated with ice,
Holding hands, helping each other, one for all and all for one,
Before – oops – tumbling once again onto the cold blue surface.

Waiting to cross at the zebra lines, is this it?
Obscured by the inches of snow fallen, falling, always falling.
Prompted by the kind man in the lorry waiting patiently – Yes, on you go,
Bow, bow, thank you, hurry across,
Show gratitude, don’t hold anyone up, help, be helped, be grateful,
There is order, there is calm, there is a way, there is thanks here.

Temperatures fall and the wind is bitter, fingers freezing once freed from gloves, hands numbed as they fumble to attempt to take a picture.
And it’s normal, 0, -5, -10, -15, -20, winter, winter, winter is here!

Neighbours wake up early and use snow ploughs to clear the streets,
Others use plastic contraptions to free their vehicles from a snowy prison, again hindered by another night of snowfall, powdery on top but freezing ice below.

Gorgeous little ones in snowsuits clamber atop magically crafted snow ramps, winding higher and higher on the condensed white cold, to whizz down at high speed on plastic sleds, before colliding at full pelt into the uncleared snow at the base.

The perks of -20, the benefits of months of cold, the fun snow can bring.

Fun yes. Beauty yes. And…

Frozen pipes and tears. Water freezing overnight and slowly building, until crack, sodden furniture and anxious nights become a reality.

Night’s away, fish tanks freeze, house owners return bereft at the death of their frozen fishy friend, until slowly as the water begins to thaw, their waterborne companion wiggles, shakes…

Praise be, he’s Alive!! Back from the dead. It wasn’t his time.

The truth of this climate.

Be prepared.
Wrap up warm.
And look about, take snowy walks and stop for a moment, take stock!

Hands nestled in pockets, booted feet covered in snow, Breathe, look where I am, in my body, in my life, in this place.

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