Almanack Essays: Waiting for Spring

Waiting for spring can be like trying to go to sleep when I have insomnia. Sometimes the best thing to do is to count. Counting is a simple measure of time, limits time to individual pieces, takes away its mystery and emptiness. Counting is an act of will, forces focus, works against discouragement, places the counter in opposition to the psychology and physiology of sleeplessness.

Numbers are infinite, and so are the pieces of winter. Counting in sequence creates apparent progress and finite limits. Even though awareness of winter’s events seems to produce few results, seems to have no sum or substance, observations can be like digits in a sprawling but promising nighttime equation, the fruit of persistence and dogged hope.DSCN0185

Like counting sheep or breaths or numerals, counting dimensions of the interval between autumn and April requires no rules or ethics, is not competitive, does not require special study or skill. Like counting sheep or breaths or numerals, the choice of things to be counted is arbitrary, has no necessary socially redeeming value, does not end poverty or bring peace, has no theology.

This is the anarchy, the freedom that looses the mind’s eye to rhythm or accumulation or listing or repetition or the emptiness of objects until something new suddenly occurs without our creating it, and we fall asleep and dream or discover spring.



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