It's miserably cold all over the land, especially in the Midwest, although the arctic air has dropped all the way down to Texas, it's also spreading through eastern New Mexico; and in Florida the crops are freezing, and iguanas are falling out of trees. Yes, apparently the cold-blooded reptiles become immobilized and lose their grip when the temps fall below forty. In honor of this wretched January weather, to make it a little more bearable, all I have to offer today is Mary Oliver's
Close to the edge. Almost
bunch up and boil down
from the north of the white bear.
This tree-splitting morning
I dream of his fat tracks,
the lifesaving suet.
I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
handfuls of grain.
Maybe what cold is, is the time
we measure the love we have always had, secretly,
for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe
that is what it means the beauty
of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.
In the season of snow,
in the immeasurable cold,
we grow cruel but honest; we keep
if we can, taking one after another
the necessary bodies of others, the many
crushed red flowers.