The Flow of Winter

Erin Scoles essays

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What is it about snow and ice that drives inspiration? Not the kind of inspiration to get outside and experience the wonders of the rocky mountain winter wonderland surrounding me, but the kind of inspiration that makes me want to write about life. Or craft something, or try a new recipe that will make my kids fall in love with my cooking all over again. 

It must come from the natural hibernation and calmness of nature that lights an inner flame and gives me that push. I’m happy for that push because it only seems to come about once a year. It could also be the fact that I'm almost six months pregnant, and I can't do too much else but awaken my inner nesting self to create things around me.

But I dread the month of February more than anything. I always hope that by being super crafty and staying busy in January that it will keep me sane and happy through the most dreaded month of all.

There are too many events that happened in February that I don’t know how to completely process yet. First, there’s February 13th, which marks the birthday of my second child who died at 20 days old in 2003. And there’s February 28th, which will now mark the day an avalanche ripped into my back yard and buried my two youngest children. This happened last year, with my daughter being partially buried and my son being completely buried. My daughter was able to get herself out of the compacted snow and debris, but my son wasn't found until an hour and half later. My children are fine; they lived through it with minimal injuries. They still go to therapy. My daughter has triggers. She also has new fears; ones which we are learning to adapt to and help her through. Ones that will probably always be there. I watched the whole thing happen from my bedroom window—and will be continuing my therapy for quite some time also.

Having to face the trauma of almost losing more children last year has forced me into finally facing the trauma of losing my son, Wind, almost 13 years ago. He died of CMV pneumonia. He died in his sleep, nestled in the crook of my right arm, in our family bed.

I’m currently trying to be creative in new ways to honor and remember him, rather than forget or avoid the inevitable day that will bring tears and grief. And now I must do the same for February 28th—the day of the avalanche. I must find a way to not be scared of this day, or to be scared of the snow building up on Mount Jumbo. I need to reteach myself to see this mountain in all its beauty and strength, and not as a looming reminder of an event that almost took my children’s lives.

These two events in February are definitely different, but are also tied together in some ways I don’t quite fully understand yet. I think letting go of fear will be one of my lessons finally learned down the road from now.

Letting my creative juices flow for the sake of saving and maintaining my health is more difficult than I thought it would be. And so worth it. I’m savoring the fact that I’m in the trenches of trauma with an end finally in sight, and all I need is some more inspiration and guidance to learn how to make it flow, and continue to flow. Kind of like a creek or river in the middle of winter; the water continuously flows under the ice and snow, you just don’t always see it. But it’s there, flowing, just like it should be. 


About the Author

Erin Scoles

Birth mama to 4, with a 5th due in May, and step-mama to 1, likes to dream about the day when she can finally look sexy while practicing yoga. Erin works full time to feed her gaggle of children, and will be done in the spring with her degree in Anthropology (11 years in the making). She loves watching horrible reality T.V., soaking in hot springs around Montana and Idaho, daydreaming about crafting (but not actually doing it), and making her children and fiancée, Casey, laugh.

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February 2015 – XO
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