All Winter Long

by Caroline Donnola


All winter long

we waited

for even a sign

that it would end.

But the snow kept coming

and the chill

and the overheating

in our NYC apartments,

the kind you can’t control.


So we kept sanitizing the humidifiers

blowing our dry noses

bundling up in layers

canceling meetings, trains

and social plans

when the Nor’easters refused to quit.


One bitter morning I heard birds

outside my window,

but they too piped down

and abandoned their half-built nests.


The first sign of spring

was when the pink blossoms

began to appear—





Not from countryside trees—

these hearty Eastern Redbuds

survive and thrive

in the harsh polluted air

and bring a kind of majesty

to otherwise gritty streets and sidewalks.


These flowers are a sign

that things will get better,

things are looking up—

Even summer will be back one day.



a few weeks later,

walking home from the subway at night

I see that most of the buds are gone,

all fallen to the ground

in a giant pink carpet

covering the sidewalk

in shimmering petals,

the color of a perfect sunset.


Every year the same thing happens—

this short-lived harbinger of spring.


Of course more flowers, bushes and trees will bud,

producing glorious colors,

brilliant green leaves,

roses in every hue.

But no sight

can compare

to those first arrivals

that stamp out the longer, darker days

and usher in the light.





3 thoughts on “All Winter Long

  1. Loved reading it.
    Will keep reading it.
    I love when people know things — like about “hearty Eastern Rosebuds” — plants things especially. Very beautiful, very still.


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