By the time I leave the house, the moon has already disappeared behind the rim of our hollow, but by climbing a ridge I'm able to coax him back and out of hiding. I'm not ready for day yet: I feel the need to surround myself with what little remains of the night. The moon's still-glowing face is the color of butter, precisely etched and as round as pure reason. Beneath him, the hemlocks on the hillside are frosted white, I assume from the fading light. I'm distracted by the singing of a hermit thrush -- or maybe I'm still half lost in that smoky terrain between sleep and life, the birthplace of most of my stories. On this morning, I don't question how a yellow moon can paint a shadowed hillside white. All things are possible in dreams.
But when I arrive at the big field, I'm jarred into reality: it wasn't the moon that frosted those hemlocks. There's a healthy layer of snow matting the tall, tender new grasses in the field. The bare earth still holds enough heat from the day to melt the tenuous flakes as they reached the soil, but anything exposed to the night's cold -- hemlock branches feathered with needles and forked like snowflakes, bunched weeds, last year's broken milkweed stalks -- are rimed with the final exhale of winter.
The flowering shrubs have just begun blooming -- hawthorn, apple, serviceberry, dogwood. For the ones that are nestled among other trees in the woods, enough of the day's warmth probably lingered to prevent tender buds from freezing. I worry, however, about the shrubs that border the huge opening of this field.
But when I look out across the field, I see an amazing sight: the multiflora rose that has established itself in the center of the opening -- stubborn and invasive, its roots so deep that it's impossible to eliminate even by grazing goats -- that rose bush has somehow burst into bloom during the night: its branches are literally dripping with white blossoms. Incredibly, the buds were not only undamaged by the subfreezing temperatures, but the flowers seem have been fed by the cold.
Still under the semi-lucid sway of my waking dream, I find myself drawn to the night-flowering rose. And in a dream, under the pale silk sky that prestages sunrise, I approach the tangled mass of thorns and realize that the white I saw from across the field was not flowers but snow: hundreds of delicate, petal-shaped wings cupped in the newly unfolded, bright green of the waiting summer's leaves.
Causes Louise Young Supports
articulation of indigenous rights (organization: Cultural Survival)
sustainable, renewable, and independent energy sources