My brother is standing on a ladder shoveling off our back porch roof when a sheet of snow from the house roof creaks loose and cascades over him. With my daughter’s help, he empties little chunks of ice and powdery snow from his pockets. Rain falls a little.

After we clear the snow, the three of us stand on the back porch — scene of summer hanging out — and I mention the sweet William that grew last summer, and will presumably again this summer, in the wild patch below the railings. I can imagine the tiny, frilly flowers in three hues of pink, laced with white.

All around us, the world is painted in hues of green pine, brown bark, and all that snow, on branches, over the garden, the trampoline frame nearly buried. It takes imagination to envision the lushness of spring — singing frogs, mating birds, tender green, and all those wildflowers, unstoppably unfolding from the earth — but we imagine it. February.

‘This is Just to Say’

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

— William Carlos Williams


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