I fell asleep on Sunday - somewhere between Jackson, Tennessee and Fenton, Missouri, I curled up on Price's fleece jacket all balled up pillow-like on the middle console. I didn't dream, but when I woke up, things were normal again.
It's funny how my brain works, how as soon as we passed the first sign proclaiming "Welcome to St. Louis!" I was instantly my St-Louisian-self once again, and Nashville seemed approximately 8 years and several dozen iterations of me ago.
I like to think I'm a homebody, but this grad school adventure has pulled "home" out from under me, leaving me completely suspended mid-air between yesterday and tomorrow, between Nashville and St Louis and Louisville, between old dreams and new dawns.
And aside from the suspicious signs of our mouse friends and the extra layer of dust on the floor - and the winter-kissed windows with swirls of ice and the frothy carpet of snow on the ground - St Louis is exactly the way we left it. And I am so glad for that.
We've been granted a little gift ... this sweet and sparing season that will end with a bang and a move and a new job for Price and who knows what else new. I'm resigned to it now, though I still have fits of kicking-and-screaming where I wrestle my anxious mind to the floor and empty it in prayer, trusting that we're following a plan that is not our own but it's just oh-so-much-better that way.
So here's to the last whispers of a winter where we've been striving and sprinting a little too hard, to date nights and dear friends and dinners around our busted Ikea table, to visitors and road trips and all kinds of adventures, and to precious hours in the classroom - hearing and learning and exploring and gleaning new bits of knowledge in what will (for one of us, at least) be the (hopefully) last trip through the Ivory Towers, the last toss of a cap and the last framing of a very, very expensive piece of paper.
I am determined to be fully present in this season, as tempting as it is to immediately begin feverishly planning for the next. And in these quiet winter mornings, when my coffee is still steaming at noon and my little cat is curled up asleep next to me, I give myself permission to rest, to quiet my ever-whirling and anxious mind, and to enjoy the stillness. There's still snow on the ground and frost on the trees and brooding grey clouds in the sky - the world is not ready to wake quite yet, and I will patiently follow the rhythm of the season. Burrow down, bundle up, and rest.
Spring will come eventually, and with it more newness and changes than I can imagine - but those changes are not today, and they aren't tomorrow, and there's no use in worrying too much about them yet. Winter is my favorite - winter is what I need - and I will hold on tight until the first blush of spring.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll