Waiting For Spring, Or, The Moon Is In Free Fall

21 Jan

It’s almost four thirty in the afternoon, a month after the winter solstice, and the sky is still that bright, brittle cold-weather blue.

I can hear birds chirping outside my bedroom window. The noises they’re making are quiet, contented. Like me, they are settled in for the long wait until spring.

These days, spring seems like a dreamy idea I read about once a long time ago. It doesn’t just seem unreal, it seems like a childhood myth that I never quite gave up believing in. I keep clinging to this idea that things will be better, soon, soon, any day now. Waiting for spring is like my own personal religion, with all its accompanying rites and rituals. Except these days I’m dabbling in atheism; I’m not sure if I quite trust in this god anymore.

I’m not sad. I’m just in that funny suspended animation that happens this time every year, when everything goes cold and hard and very, very still.

I remember being very drunk at a party once when I was in my early twenties. The party was at my house, and at some point I found myself sitting in front of the book shelf, staring in awe at all of my books. One of my roommates asked what I was doing, and I turned and said to her,

“Look at this – look at how many words I own. Every single one of these books is filled with thousands and thousands of words, and they all belong to me. I bought them, with my own money. I bought the whole language!”

It seemed very profound to me at the time, even if my roommate just laughed and rolled her eyes and said, “Oh my god you are wasted.”

I do own those words, though. I own another person’s thoughts, the deepest parts of themselves that have spilled out through the tips of their fingers in the middle of their darkest nights. I might not own the things themselves that the words and passages describe, but I own their shadow, their printed idea on a page. And somehow that’s nearly as good. In the currency of thoughts and language, I am rich.

I know that this is true because when I think about it my skin prickles and my throat gets tight.

I want to think more beautiful thoughts this winter. I want better things to dream on until the spring wakes me up. I want to sit with a terrible stillness and find the right fancies to dive into. I don’t want things to move quickly anymore – action and then reaction over and over again, each shot fired in a split second – instead, I want things to move at a glacial pace, each approaching concept swallowing me whole, giving me time to learn it from the inside out. I want each new wonder to suffuse me, to drip out of my pores.

I think I want to be reborn, though I’m not sure as what.

One of the nicest ideas that I’ve ever read comes from the Wikipedia entry for free fall:

An object in the technical sense of free fall may not necessarily be falling down in the usual sense of the term. An object moving upwards would not normally be considered to be falling but if it is subject to the force of gravity only, it is said to be in free fall. The moon thus is in free fall.

I wish that I could explain to you exactly how and why I love this so much. The moon – the stolid old moon, making its endless circles around the earth – is in free fall. The words don’t change what the moon does or how it functions, but they change how I see it. It’s no longer tethered by some imaginary thread to the earth, but instead it’s falling, always falling, caught at the last minute by gravity. Over and over again the moon falls; over and over the moon is saved. Every day. Every night.

It’s a thought that could make you fall in love with the universe all over again.

So here’s to those dreams that we might dabble in during these longest nights and coldest days. Here’s to the bits of beauty that find their way into our lives and maybe lodge themselves in our hearts. Here’s to slowness, to stillness, to the time we take in our suspended animation thinking those longer thoughts.

Here’s to all the deep, quiet thrills that we might find before spring rushes in to wake us up.


30 Responses to “Waiting For Spring, Or, The Moon Is In Free Fall”

  1. mgpcoe January 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    There are no words that can adequately describe how much I love your words.

    • bellejarblog January 22, 2014 at 2:27 am #

      Did you type this on the streetcar? If so, rrrrrrromance!

  2. Gappy January 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    I heard tell of the first Snowdrops the other day. A friend had seen some on a bank somewhere. A few rumoured Snowdrops are enough to send me into freefall. That’s how much I look forward to Spring.

    • bellejarblog January 21, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

      Ahhhh so exciting! Everything is still frozen solid here.

  3. Helen Ross January 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    A beautifully written post.

  4. ardenrr January 22, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    Ahhh you own these beautiful words. I love this.

  5. Miriam January 22, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    You’ve captured the spirit of winter so beautifully. There is so much to be learned in this season.

    • bellejarblog January 22, 2014 at 2:29 am #

      Thank you! It’s a spirit that I’m slowly, so very slowly, learning to appreciate.

      • Miriam January 22, 2014 at 2:34 am #

        Well, I have a love/hate relationship with it, for sure. But still, it feels like there is something important happening, even when I’m tired and depressed and long for a warm and sunny beach somewhere.

  6. edenkaill January 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #


    Do you know Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem I Am Waiting? If not I am gonna send it to you.

  7. jgroeber January 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Ah, a slow smile rising from deep in my chest. You have me considering my words differently, my way of writing, the things I choose to mull over. A seed planted and sleeping under the frozen crust perhaps? (Thank you for that.)

    • bellejarblog January 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Ahhh that’s the best effect this piece could have! I dearly hope that it has planted a seed somewhere hidden and dark ❤

  8. Susan B Raven January 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    I’m glad to hear someone savoring winter and making good use of it rather than lamenting the cold and grey ennui.

    • bellejarblog January 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Oh I’m doing both! Or I guess I’m making a conscious effort to stop doing the latter and try to do the former.

  9. moosha23 January 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    I love this! Great way to use words, and to think about them in that way too, and to attest to their power to change your perspective ever so slightly. Of course, relaxing into this winter (which will soon become spring, I hope!) is also another big fat plus!

    • bellejarblog January 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

      Thank you! And yes, here’s hoping that spring is just around the corner…

  10. Jennie Saia January 23, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    I love the moon. Thank you so much for giving me this idea of her to carry with me always.

  11. moonflower29 January 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Yes! Just, yes!

  12. Niki January 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    My heart yearns for spring.xx

    dreaming is believing

  13. literaryvittles January 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    All of your posts are delightful. So glad I discovered this blog. 🙂

  14. virginiajung5 January 25, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    It’s a cold winter here in Chicago as well with beautiful moons any night that you can actually see it – free falling. Thanks for reminding me of how precious books and writers’ words are!

  15. jsunshine420769 February 1, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    Reblogged this on jsunshine420769's Blog and commented:
    I very much appreciate this post. I go through a depression most winters and find solace in autumn and the moon. The moon is a lover of mine that comes and goes, changing like the tides. Free falling… free flowing too. I find peace in knowing the moon comes out everynight to light my feet as the sun kisses the earth goodnight. Beautiful friend the moon is.


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