Here in Kentucky, we are in that window of the year when first frost can
be anticipated. The pattern is a period of cooling, followed by a
period of warming that gravitates increasingly toward cold. Then one
morning the ground has a whiteness, and I am left to record an impression
of first frost, which from one year to the next is never recalled with
So I will look forward as a seer
might and I will say on that first day of frost the Mockingbird is soothed
and Bluebirds look grumpy.
These are not
statements pulled from a hat, because I have seen the Mockingbird soothed
and a Bluebird look grumpy. And I can identify traits characteristic
of these two moments, one of which is season. The Mockingbird is
still when he sits without voice and there is in his eye a
curiosity. The Bluebird is grumpy when he stares down at the ground
which I know is too cold for insect life.
I sometimes am tempted to think winter
would be easier to comprehend were it characterized by imagination and
those inventions of imagination that predate the scientific order of
So, on the first day of frost, if I were
to tell my neighbor that the Great White Owl of the north has cast her
shadow on the green fields of Kentucky, he might ask me why?
Then I could find an answer that might propel purpose between us and give me
something more than an axial tilt of the planet that remains a consequence
of Earth's collision with a large object early in the Earth's
But what might imagination produce in
answer to his 'question why' that does not include a facsimile of that part
of man that leads to axes, tanks and atom bombs.
I could say, the Great White Owl of the
north has cast her shadow on the green fields of Kentucky so that I might
see the Mockingbird curious and the Bluebird grumpy, but that might appear
overwhelmingly absurd and lead to terminal discord.