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The Call of Void

Photo Credit: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

“Birches”

Winter is often seen as an omen of death. It is used to foreshadow something dark coming, and everything that once exuded life has slowly contracted into a dying, withering, nothing. This is contradictory to what is also declared as the most wonderful time of the year.

While people awe at the sparkles of snowflakes that steadily blanket the city, the lights that adorn the hips of every house, and of course spreading holiday cheer on the most festive holiday of the year—Christmas—everything around them is dead. I like how these two dichotomies work together.

But it is around this time of the year, with the winter and snow, that I am reminded of “Birches” by Robert Frost (I felt this transition was appropriate).

I love the imagery Frost uses in describing the trials and tribulations of childhood to adulthood. How the piling of snow on the dark birch trees represent the burdens of getting older, and how the swinging of birch trees represents the contradictory pulls of life: heaven and earth and flight and return. I admire this outlook and perspective on life.

While I still have so many years ahead of me, I can’t help but to think how much I have grown through these 19 winters. In short, I’m really happy about where I am in this stage of my life, happy with the people who I have surrounded myself with, and happy with where I’m headed for my future. But I’m also anxious and nervous about what the future holds, and I guess that’s okay. I wouldn’t be doing the right thing if I wasn’t.

Colorado has long and rough winters, and despite living here my whole life, I have a genuine disdain for the snow. Don’t get me wrong, it makes the neighborhoods and the streets look beautiful, but I’d rather marvel at that beauty from the inside. But every winter I find myself reflecting on the year, and seeing once again how much I have grown and for that, I will always look forward to winter.

I guess you could say the snow has become my own version of birch trees. To that, I can only quote, “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”

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