It smells of cold.
It feels cold too, but the smell is the prevailing thing, a forewarning of autumn’s approach, an announcement of winter’s coming. Goose pimples establish roots somewhere beneath my skin, and so the penetration of the cold begins.
The wind is a calming, muffled shout as it glides up and over Spanish Peak and down the granite bowl to the lake. Then, it sprints across the water’s surface in waves at unpredictable intervals, like lines of soldiers in that traditional way of engaging in battle that no one alive today has ever seen firsthand.
The sky is a solid sheet of white, like a newly snowed meadow inverted. Grey cumulus clouds continue to build and silently, forebodingly, hover above before moving beyond view.
There are signs of fleeting life in shades of red, burnt orange, and yellow on the granite hill side opposite me. They make me think wistfully of the approaching holidays, things that smell of cinnamon, and warm beverages held in ceramic mugs. All of this creates a hallow space in my chest that floods with a sweetly stinging yearning that is hard to describe even to myself.
However evasive it may be of verbal descriptors, it is the most real and pervasive thing about my present. It seems to warm me from the inside out and makes me want to grab on to, and bottle up for safe keeping, fleeting things that can never stay.
Nothing makes sense in this moment, and that is both a form of clarity and an additional layer added to my cognitive fog. There is something here singing in these elements that is the sustenance for my soul and the Light unto my path, but I can’t quite get a good look at it.
All that waxing philosophical aside, I am thankful for the grey and the subtle panic as I grow increasingly colder with every moment of the sun’s absence. Sometimes we need a bit of panic to remind ourselves we’re alive, that we still have a life to navigate and make meaning out of.
As I lean next to a granite boulder I find I’m hoping it might have stored up a bit of warmth from yesterday’s sun to share with me. I think how often I lean next to memories of treasured yesterdays to warm myself against the cold uncertainties of tomorrow. I think that’s ok though – we all have to survive the darkness of night. We all have to make it through that coldest hour before dawn, the dawn we only half believe is coming although it has never failed us before.
The smell of cold makes my nose run and my frequent sniffles remind me of how therapeutic it is to cry and how amazing it is that God gave us tear ducts to others can see we are in pain when we refuse to let down our pride to say so outright.
I smell the cold and feel it deep in my bones and I wish I could dissolve and join it. I wish I could become part of the grey so I could calm my own mind and perhaps find answers to my increasing list of questions. I feel the answers are there in the grey somewhere, there in the theme song of the nearly-autumn breeze. Such a tease. Such a delightful tease.
The frustration of my separation from it reminds me I have dreams to aspire to and an ever continuous need of You, and I shouldn’t fear letting myself stew in the uncertain yearning brought on by the smell of the cold.