Winter sleepers

PORTLAND, Oregon (02 January 2020) — Winter here reminds me of Connecticut: the cyan hue of the cool damp and the ever-present silence. But it’s not a silence like I can’t hear, it’s more of a metaphoric muting of the echoes and distant voices we don’t notice. The darkened winter quiet adds a feeling of isolation and distance that is inconsistent and difficult to define.

The few people I know are elsewhere, maybe hibernating, maybe out of town. I don’t know. Their absence is part of the cool silence as they are part of the world at rest, the people out and about in a park where I happen to be sitting, with their dogs, the solitary man quietly fishing, none of them seem real. 

But, when I go inside, it is an abrupt change — more so than in warmer and brighter times of the year. It is as if I am catapulted from the grey purgatory into a different space merely by darkening a doorway that separates warm artificial light from the cool, cyan glow. The people come back to life, or maybe I reenter their world. While I’m never really sure, it is still good to be among the company of the living and existing again. 

It could just be me; maybe I’m just waiting to rejoin the world but just like the unwitting people in the overused cliché of the Shakespearean purgatory, I’m not aware of it.