It’s safe to say that this winter has been bipolar: twenty degrees one day, fifty degrees the next. Alas, it’s coming to an end, and we are all hoping for that warm spring sun to shine down on us. Still, the temperature is rising, but winter’s spitting out its final bursts, clinging to the wind as we cling to our coats. It’s the perfect setting to read Josue Rivera’s “Winter’s Recession” (Obscura Vol. 5, 2014, pp. 6-7).
Rivera’s poem correlates the snowy season with our souls (deep, right?). He describes how when we are young, we are “emboldened/ determined, undeterred,” but as we pursue our goals, we sometimes are “crushed by flakes.” As we age, our souls start “bleeding gray” as we come to face new experiences of doubts and fears. Before getting lost in the cold, dark grip in which this poem will hold you, remember that there is something good that lies ahead: spring, summer, and warmth. They are often short lived as we get trapped in another winter every year, but the thirst to live and be renewed still lingers within each of us.
I find Rivera’s poem to be an honest portrayal of life. There are periods when we find ourselves suffering, but usually, the only way to pick ourselves up and realize that we want to live is when we hit rock bottom. “Winter’s Recession reminds us of this as we are buried in the snow, but we hibernate and dream with a “longing to work;/a longing to live;/ a longing to sweat.” Whether they are Sisyphean tasks or guarantees, we dare to challenge ourselves and dream of a brighter future. Suffering and failing are part of being human, but if we let such consequences keep us down, we’ll only “taste snowflakes on our tongues.”