I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, known more popularly as Game of Thrones. One of it’s often repeated lines is “Winter is coming.” It’s the family motto of the Stark family, who has ruled in the North forever and a day at as the story begins and it is meant to remind them that the season is more than just cold, snow and ice. Its application is deeper than simply the superficial preparations that are important for survival in the frigid northern terrain. It’s about vigilance, internal fortitude and looking beyound the obvious to see what is really coming.
Late February, even in a mild winter such as the one we are enjoying, is the time when winter feels as though it has always been. Green, leafy and blooming is forgotten as though it never happened last year at all, and in some respects it didn’t thanks to the endless rainy spring that drowned much of June and July.
In our neck of Alberta, “winter is coming” could almost be read “winter is” and be done with it.
Regardless of when the snow falls, at the end of February, we are still a good two and a half months from the outer limits of winter and snow can fall as easily in July and August as it can in January. It requires a special kind of endurance to live with winter hanging over one’s head all the time, taunting and sure of itself.
It snowed over the weekend and again this morning. We haven’t had snow if a while, but even with the oddly warm temperature, snow and ice cling stubbornly to the ground.
No matter how optimistically I begin, the Iowa girl in me misses March’s first promise of spring. As the time approaches for either lion or lamb to enter the building, I begin to feel as though I am living in Martin’s vision of an endless winter without even the promise of dragons or magical swords to subdue it.