April 7 2020

Dear Mom,

The snow is still on the ground, although for once in the past 4 or 5 days, it didn’t snow last night. Yesterday the sun came out along with a watery blue sky. I can’t tell you how it lifted my mood- but then, almost as if a switch was flicked off, I felt very weepy.

I watched the icicles start to melt..hanging on our shed, their cold, fat tears dripping off onto the ground below. I saw patches of our garden pathway appear as the blanket of snow shrunk away from the stonework…It reminded me of being young and experiencing Spring in all it’s glory. Somehow it all made me feel very melancholy, and the desire to experience just one more Spring day inside a child’s mind was completely overwhelming.

I think I may recall you and I having a conversation or two about being an adult but wanting to act like a child. We had some laughs over what ‘normal’ adults would think of our outlandish behaviour (should we decide to revert to childhood), coming up with examples that left us in stitches…

I believe we concluded that was why being a parent (or grandparent) to young ones was so freeing. When you have no rules of how this magnificent world works and are only just discovering (and re-discovering) the thousands of gems of knowledge available to find all around you…it’s so exciting and refreshing…and fulfilling.

I still have the sense of wonder and awe which you purposefully wove through the fabric of my mind, Mom. The desire to ensure that I not only saw what many chose not to…but to feel the delicacy of the natural world in my heart, just as you did, was a beautiful gift to give me. In fact, it is so deeply ingrained inside me- this connection with flora and fauna, that when I allow myself to fully immerse in the experience of being still and using my senses, its simplistic complexity can often bring me to tears.

Which brings me back to my weeping and those damn icicles hanging on the shed-crying.

How many times did I sit on the hard, damp ground; the yellowed, dead grass having been flattened for months with a heavy blanket made up of millions and billions of individual snowflakes?  I would suck away at an icicle, holding it with a sopping wet, knitted mitten, until I could see flecks of dirt inside my crystal shard. With my bottom warming the frozen earth underneath me- I wouldn’t be aware of the dampness seeping through to my pants and jacket until my skin became chilled.

I need the patience of a child’s mind. I know you are thinking a child is anything but patient…but while they can pummel your ears with the same question over and over (think car rides-‘Are we there yet’?), they can also accept and even enjoy the uncertainty of life.

Spring was supposed to be here weeks ago. The buds have set on the skeletal branches of trees and many robins have returned (only to be greeted by daily snowfalls).  I can see the patchwork of black earth and snow in my garden beds and although I can’t smell the renewal of the changing season yet, I know she is ready to reveal herself…and I can not wait!

But I will of course have to…wait. We all must have patience. Patience sitting in our houses…day after day.

I work. Talking for hours on the phone and typing away at my computer. I am thankful I still have a job and am able to work from home. When work is done for the day, I cook. When I have eaten, I sometimes read or write. Occasionally I will bundle up and walk the eerily empty pathways, under what has been perpetual dreary, grey skies.

It was during one of these mono chrome walks that I recognized a particular saving grace…the birds. Sparrows and finches, flickers and jays. They all had a special message for me. ‘Margaret, watch as we glide through the skies. Do you hear our cheery melodies? Do you see our hopeful gathering of dried grasses and leaves; building nests for our future families? Margaret, be still. Watch and listen. Spring will be here in time”.

The smallest sparrow can have such a big impact. Today as I write; I can hear them all in unison. Together-no self isolation for my feathered friends. Going about their business as the world quietly waits in anticipation.

Spring will arrive, just as one day we will once again hold hands, without fear, and rejoice in the act of just being.

The icicles have melted. 

5 thoughts on “Icicles

    1. Now that the weather is nicer and Spring is indicating she would like to be here, the birds at our feeders and pond are providing a great deal of entertainment and peace for me. I think I’d suggest to anyone needing to clear their mind or become more at peace, to go for a walk and experience a nature re-boot.


  1. I enjoyed this one. Brings me back to being a child too. Thankful that mom instilled in us her love of nature. No wonder you wanted to be a marine biologist for years, or at least that is what you would say for years when asked, “What you would like to be when you grow up?” Good answer. Full of the wonder of the natural world.

    My answer around those same several years would be “Hotel manager” lol. I just thought hotels were so cool! I loved our trip with mom to the Foxwood Inn. And then to Niagara Falls for a weekend. The amazing excursion to Cape Cod – at least 2 on the way there. And probably a couple of more on the way home, not to mention the little cottage in Cape Cod. I loved exploring those places with you. And somehow wished it would never end. I loved all the hallways, and the buttons on the drink machines, and the blinking lights on the coin operated games, including Pong (the first video game) and the little helicopter. No to mention juke boxes, which I loved.

    I guess there were commonalities between your goal and mine: mainly the sense of wonder. And that or aspirations were inspired by our common path together being brought up by mom who infused us with a sense of joy and encouraged our creative explorations.


    1. Marine biology was absolutely fascinating to me. I also wanted to work for National Geographic- we had a subscription to the magazine if you recall. I swear, at one point, Mom must have had a couple of hundred NG magazines sitting in the basement just waiting to be re-read. Your comment re: hotel manager made me smile in remembrance of your own fascination with the ‘goings on’ within a hotel. You would be so excited to explore when we would check in (and I was more than happy to be an accomplice during your investigations!). You brought up some memories I had forgotten (like the Pong and helicopter). We both were so blessed-honestly, I am so thankful we had Mom as a teacher and sharer of the very best things- and so very thankful we can share those memories together.


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