Cusp is a funny a word. It comes from Latin, cuspis, which means point or apex. Are we at the apex of winter, the point when the season pivots toward light and heat? Here in New England, none of the points seem very sharp. The seasons bleed into one another. We are not, maybe, “on the cusp,” but rather in a kind of seasonal limbo, snow still on the ground, but the sun gaining on the darkness and heat starting to seep back into the earth.
I’ll be snow shoeing up a mountainside this morning, then skiing later in the day. I woke to birds singing and the brook behind the house freeing itself of ice. The dog yawned languidly, in no rush to meet the day. I have everything I need today, and I’m fortunate to know it.
Still, I’m thinking about the trails free of snow in all their fast, runnable glory. I’m thinking about a mountain bike down a switchback, the banked curve, sandy loam beneath my wheels.
I try to push those thoughts away. The season is in front of me. The thermometer still says it’s cold. Am I wringing the last joy from winter or rushing toward the spring? Yeah. Probably. Both.
I think, for a trail runner, February is the hardest month, at least where I live. The snow melt cycle makes for variable footing. Footprints freeze overnight and leave a rutted mess. The road, when we give up and avail ourselves, pounds joints and puts the mind to sleep. March is mud season, but it offers hope. It gives just enough of itself for an ambitious trail runner to gain traction, hope. But February is hard.
Where are you, in that head of yours? Strapping on the spikes and heading out the door? Or pining for warm, dry days? Or like me, caught in between, maybe just glad to have choices on the cusp of spring?