We’re in the midst of the Adirondack winter. Late January always teases, making me think we’re rounding a corner, when really it’s just new waves of ice and snow. Mornings bleed together, dark and frigid, and then night comes.

I find myself wondering if life is suspended in ice, if all my hopes will somehow be miraculously fulfilled with the spring—the routine will get easier, the challenges will soften under the warmth of the new sun. When a new storm blows through I realize it can’t possibly all just wait for spring. My time cannot be best spent murmuring, “Soon, soon it will settle.”

Turning away from the unpacked boxes and the tension that comes home from work each day I look through the window. I’m surprised that our view has changed, six years of backdrop fools my eyes sometimes and I see the shadows of our life. Walks to the market, neighbors mowing lawns and slamming doors.

The view from this window shows an unfamiliar street scape, different faces populating a new routine, the mail carrier comes later and the birds in the feeder are not the same. One day, after a harder-than-I’d-like-to-admit reckoning that may very well change the trajectory of everything, I saw something new. It’s as if life, prescient to the upending of a place I’d known as my own, threaded continuity in to cushion this transition. The banister of the porch on this new house is the same. The white paint, the simple straight cuts of the wood, the voluptuous curves on the columns. I’m stunned I missed this.

All three girls are upstairs sleeping, oblivious to my awakening. Sean is with them and I listen to the melodic shushing of the dishwasher. Looking through the window I see shoots of new growth. I blink to be sure, so incongruous are these magnificent buds to the ending at home and the discord elsewhere. It’s still cold, the grey sky and slick, icy sidewalks holding court requiring great effort just to leave the house, yet these shoots eclipse winter.

Now is the time when change happens, during the moments when I feel most helpless and hopeless I am meant to carve my own path. These scenarios that seem so unyielding are but bends in the way, forcing or allowing me, depending upon my perspective, to decide which way I’ll crane to catch the spring sun. Where will I blossom, how will I catch the spring rain and explode into summer.

This time is not unchanging or restrictive, it is rich with opportunity and as I lead my girls and accompany Sean, I need to be mindful that every minute of my life is mine to shape.

The chill can fuel me.