Friday, January 18, 2019

In the Winter at Prairie Hill

Winter has arrived at Prairie Hill. As I write this, the weekend Iowa City weather forecast calls for temperatures plunging to 1 and 2 degrees below zero. Snow - up to 8 inches of it - is coming tonight.

Meanwhile, at a Friends of Prairie Hill potluck last night in the Common House, there was talk of an outing to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum in West Branch, "when the weather gets better." And, we started to plan an April trip to Cedar Rapids to see an Iowa Kernels baseball game.

That led to my friend, Dick, and I musing about our favorite baseball movies. ("Field of Dreams" gets my vote, with "Bull Durham" a close second.)

So, even as the winds howl outside and daytime highs struggle to top 20 degrees, thoughts of sunny Spring dance around a Maypole in our heads. By the same token, this, the day after poet Mary Oliver's death, I am reminded to embrace Winter's relentless cold and icy persona. In her poem "Red Bird," Oliver offers me hope:

...for whatever reason - 
perhaps because winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,

or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens - 
I am grateful

that the red bird comes all winter - 
as nothing else can do.

So, I'll bundle up in that poem today as I brace for the rest of this wondrous season.

John Bowman