Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter People

Winter People

It snowed and slowly I awoke, slowly I remembered that I was born a winter person, born for adapting. I remember now, that I have few but vital knowings: How to Protect from the Wind, How to Keep the Blood Warmed in Freezing Conditions. How to adapt my eyes to the dimness, how to become, in fact, intolerant of light. And my essential nature--how my skin shrinks from the breath of the sun, how my skin is not: nut-brown, light-craving, healed by heat. How I was born fighting against the elements, how it changes you when you’re delivered at birth into the shock of wind chill and deep frozen white, when you must choose early and wisely your methods of survival, when you are weaned on tales of frostbite and the lengths others before you have gone to keep from dying of cold. It changes you, to know that you must always carry with you the tools of survival: Always, matches in a waterproof tin. Always, a blade with which to stab your prey. Always, a fur to protect the heart. Always a willingness to kill that which you love, so you may plunge your raw hands into their still-warm viscera, so you may be granted another twenty, invaluable minutes of warmth. And of course, the skills needed to build a fire in the wilderness, in the dead of winter, everything hostile and incurably damp.

When I dream, I dream of summer people. What it is like to be dusky, to require the heat. To be born in sun, to be born knowing the land will always warm you, that the land wrapped you in itself from the moment you entered the world. That as a newborn, you looked straight into the white, roaring sun, and from then on your eyes were ready, eager, expectant of love.

--Kristen McHenry


Dana said...

I just read this to Jon. We're rockin' on it.

Carolyn said...

Dear Cuz, I remember when you and I were pen pals while you were living in Alaska. You sent a postcard of mukluks or igloos or something Inuitive...For this reason, I always think of you in the land of Northern Lights, the benevolent & good witch of the North!