Memoirists understand the world in a different way than you or I.
Memoirists don’t like endings because endings signify death.
In a sense, their best skill is time travel,
and for the express purpose of never concluding anything.
They say it was the first day of spring, but it could have been January, or February. The snowbank along the lane was still the height of my shoulder. The path to the house was bordered by a two-foot-tall cut in the drift that swept in over it during the last storm. Personally, I’m waiting for Narnia’s Snow Queen to go sledding by, because that would explain a lot.
It seems that time is frozen. It ceased to pass by, somewhere in the depths of winter, and here we will stay forever.
I think wild thoughts as the hours tick by, second after second. I think of moving away. I think of uprooting my entire life in drastic and impossible measures. If endings signify death, then I’ve become an obsessive fiend, whiling away the days by plotting the murder of winter. I would drop her through a wormhole and into an alternate universe, one where my northern realm is someplace so faraway as to be imaginary. I would vapourize her white, unmoving swells and turn them into an ocean of warm blue-green living water. She is a sea, and she drowns me.
Weeks later, still the snow remains. If the White Witch has been by, it’s to cringe at the dripping of the eaves and to conjure yet another storm. Yesterday, it blew down from the north, cold and sleety. Today, on the icy roads, my oldest ditched the car. It’s not a big deal — it happens in winter, and there’s nothing to hit out here in the middle of nowhere. The only targets are more snowbanks.
Winter writes a memoir. Time is frozen, and if we travel it, we do so by memory of things that have ceased to exist. Things like the colour green, things like leaves. I thought, the other day, that I saw green tips on the stark grey branches as we drove down towards town. It was a mirage brought on by a dehydrated brain that has gone too long without the natural spectrum.
Endings signify death, but sometimes also life. And the death of a foul thing can be the resurrection of the good. I cling to that thought, and complete another pass of the cycle of words begun by my friend:
Memoirists don’t like endings because endings signify death. And yet their duty is to embrace them, because the death of the lesser means the life of the greater. The memoirist’s duty is to impart the presence of a life which lasts beyond the final page.
Even as we freeze the moments, we are still traversing them. That’s winter’s doom, and my hope. Whether we turn the pages backward or forward, or pin them open in one place, at some point the warmth of other days must shine through and melt these chosen portraits — ice sculptures of the mind — to running water.
Things like the colour green — they do exist. I do believe in fairies, or rather, in resurrection. And I hope my best skill is time travel, for the express purpose of never concluding the season to come: The renaissance.
New this week: A previously published short story of mine, The Significance of Snowflakes, is now available for free in your choice of e-reader formats. If you’d like to read it, click here and scroll down to the download links.