This place of my home and heart, Williamsburg, often remembered by visitors in images of white clapboarded colonial houses surrounded by lush green boxwood under brilliant blue skies, holds a different magic in the gray quiet of winter. When the touring crowds thin, I meet my hometown again and find in her still somnolence moments that warm my soul. While all sleeps, waiting to wake in the riot of spring, I wander the empty streets and hidden gardens, conjuring times long-past, recalling happy moments of youth, hoping for the days to come.
Uneven brick pathways, slick with moss, glisten in the cold rain and whisper of crowds past and future. Garden gates held shut by the weight of a heavy iron ball beckon me to swing them open and explore the village of outbuildings found in each backyard.
Heavy vines hold tight to a fence in an icy hibernal grip. In a winter garden ghostly branches promise buds will come in spring. A skeletal arbor’s last clinging dead leaves rustle in the wind, hinting that summer greenery will shelter me from the sun.
Winter gardens put forth spare but nourishing food from the cold cover of earth. Animals gaze warily at me as I pass through their world, wondering if I bring crunchy carrots.
Interpreters waiting for a passing tourist or two warm themselves by a fire at the gaol and in the golden glow of a forge’s furnace. They remind me my toes are cold from my walk and it is time to head home to my own fire while my soul waits for spring.