Quentin Paquette and Jane Hulstrunk

Jane Hulstrunk

Inspiration piece

Winter — Quentin Paquette


I’ve been by here before, but didn’t recognize being here and went by.  Then there was so much else to attend to.  The din of the crickets, the ferns, the vines, the trees full of leaves all competing for attention.  Bare arms and calves, lighter shoes, were moving much faster through the woods.  A fuller light displayed an overwhelming variety of colors blending together and blurring the contrasts.  The longer day filled with many more competing moments, each one trying to draw me from the one before.
I’m here now, in this moment reduced to what is always here.  A moment without pretense or misdirection.  The background no longer hiding behind the surface figures.  The perception of moving forwards slowed to a single nearly timeless space.
But, I can’t stay here.  To meet you here is one thing: I can pause briefly here surrounded by the cold, set apart, quiet, whispering with the breeze through the empty branches, every breath visibly countable, noticing each movement, seeing the crystals of each snowflake on my sleeve.
But still, I cannot stay here: shivering, turning blue, losing my footing, unable to see the covered path, melt making its way through my boots and the shoulders of my coat, gloves and pant legs becoming cold and stiff, lips and fingertips drying out and cracking.  I cannot wait out the season in this one moment, waiting for the thaw to start everything moving again.  Carrying each season with me prevents me from long staying still in any one.  The Winter here eventually comes in conflict with the high-nineties summer day I carry inside.
I head back to the cabin, arms full of wood, and burn out the stored heat and light of Summers past to push back Winter present.  I hang up my gloves and socks and coat to dry, and rub the circulation back into my fingertips.  I hang a pot of water to boil.  Then something will make me want to return to the cold, look up into the sky to see not Hercules, but Orion circling above.  I am not bound to live the cycles out one by one, but have them all continuously.  Freed from an imposed order, I search for harmony.
I’ll come back again in Summer.  I might not recognize that point, my foot prints long gone, again overwhelmed by movement and growth.  Too much to perceive all at once: I have been given freedom at the expense of clarity.  While I may not ever again arrive at that point, it never fully departs, within my thoughts of trees, this forest, all forests, the world, my Self.  So I keep going, trying to be aware and growing, pausing to restore and reflect, hoping to accumulate enough meanings to start to understand and to see.


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One Comment

  1. Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm | #

    Wow. Winter, snow me in. Amazing imagery. Thank you.