It is finally Franny’s turn to dream, as this winter both lightens and deepens. It’s been a season full of snow and ice, sickness, loss; and full of breathtakingly beautiful sunrises, sunsets like fire in the southwest sky, glorious pale blue skies providing a backdrop for branches sparkling with ice crystals.
One especially cold night, Franny sinks into sleep early. It was a day of anxious waiting, friends waiting for test results, waiting for loved ones to make it home from travels, waiting for the calls and texts to say “we’re okay, we’re home, we’re safe.”
Although the snow and ice kept her indoors most of the day, she feels a deep exhaustion, and finds herself grateful for the early dark that provides cover for her desire to go to bed.
Drifting off, it seems only moments before she dreams she’s in a garden, sitting on a small bench, soaking in sunshine.
Franny takes in the sight slowly, savoring every color and texture, and as she turns her head she knows that she will find Marilyn sitting next to her.
“Hello, my dear,” Marilyn says.
Franny cannot seem to answer aloud, so she responds with her thoughts. Hello, Marilyn, oh, how I’ve missed you.
“Well, I’m here now,” Marilyn answers, always so practical.
In a way, I’m glad you’ve missed the last couple of years. This winter, it feels so hard.
“Winter isn’t hard. What’s hard is expecting it to not be winter. Let yourself become your winter self, Franny. Turn inward, sleep more, rest deeply. See the beauty in this season.”
Oh, Marilyn, every day, I wish I could talk to you, ask you what it is I’m supposed to do.
“I know. I’ve been answering. Have you not heard me?”
And in this moment, Franny realizes she has been. Of course she has. In every birdsong, every rustle of a breeze through the trees, every hoot of the barred owls in the long dark nights, she hears her old friend’s answer:
Live. Thrive. Love. Be yourself.