Last night, excitement visited me for the first time in a few years. It alighted upon my shoulder and fluttered. I don’t know why. There was nothing particular going to happen. Nor anything particular that had just happened. It was just Paul and I walking home in the snow. A common street in Redmond, Oregon, metamorphosed into an idyllic Park Avenue because snow buried it. There was a streetlamp. The snow fell within its light and outside of it. The street was lit by a full moon. Snow is a leveler, transforming the sordid into quaint and the ostentatious into subtle. The splendid places continue to be just what they are, splendid, but splendid with snow.
The trees remain splendid but splendid with snow too. The elm and maple branches are encased in hoarfrost, and the contrast between their black bark and white outlines are breathtaking. The trees that blossom in the spring, bloom snowy blossoms, their branches heavy with winter fruit which floated down from heaven.
As we walked through the snow, our boots caused the dry snow beneath our feet to squeak and crunch. We could see our breath but I was cozy within my heavy coat, scarf and stocking hat, my toes toasty in their wool socks and lined boots and my fingers snug in their gloves. I could enjoy the crisp air at 2 degrees Fahrenheit from my warm vantage point. We were returning from time with friends at Pig and Pound, our local British pub. We laughed together over our respective beers. My Oakshire Espresso Stout was so superb I had a second. That second stout added heat too. We parted with one set of friends at the pub. We parted with the next set at the corner of 10th and Antler. Paul and I set off on our own.
I can dimly remember when excitement was not a remarkable visitor. Before we were plunged beneath the shadow of Paul’s cancer diagnosis. Melanoma, Stage III. Nodes compromised.
I was able to write through financial crisis. Through the losing of both our jobs. Through the losing of our house. I was not able to write through this. I could only get out a few notes on Paul’s progress to family and friends to keep them informed and to keep the prayers coming. My lover, my friend, my gemini was in danger and I could think of little else. Creativity was snuffed out.
I’ve looked excited since then. I’ve attempted excitement. I may have even buoyed near the top for a few moments. But excitement isn’t something you attain. It’s something that visits. It’s magic. And we are passive when magic happens. We watch and feel and are grateful. We don’t take credit for it.
Magic happened on the walk home last night. My arm in Paul’s. Our steps in sync. The snow, the warmth, the hoarfrost, the moon, the air, the flutter of excitement.