Still winter in spite of the dazzling sunshine. Still winter in spite of the tiny purple buds sleeping on bare black branches. We have a long way to go before the snow piled on the picnic table melts, before the leaves unfurl from the buds, before the sun coaxes us out of our parkas and hoods.
In the big park so close to the condo where I will move later this month only the squirrels are picnicking today. Suddenly I notice what looks like a dark pile of clothes on the pristine snow. As I approach, my shadow long before in the winter afternoon, I see that it is a person stretched out on the snow, face open to the brilliant blue sky. ” Who is this?
I slow down and call out in my most down-to-earth voice, ” Are you alright?” My sensible matter-of-fact tone masks my trepidation. I don’t want this to be a sick or drugged person…or worse! A young woman half sits up and answers me in French. All is well. She’s just communing with the sky, with the trees she’d just loving this day, in her own way. I agree that it’s just the day for it. All is well. And yet, as I walk on she calls out a thank you and remark that I ” give her hope”.
So, it is not just her snow picnic. Something deeper made her lie down there on this cold,mercifully still day.
Maybe I’ll see her again in the big park when it’s a common thing to see people lying on the grass or sitting at the tables. Maybe I’ll see her again of all the women in the city who draw hope from a perfect sky and from a stranger asking if she is ‘ all right” .