A week of sun ends in scattered raindrops and my hands dirtied with creosote from cleaning out my wood stove. The cats hunker against the wall, glaring at my labors, annoyed at the chill descending into their cat realm. My daughter, fluent in Cat Language, feeds the creatures small pieces of roast chicken. I brew more coffee.

Mid-March, the sudden season of reckoning: what is it I’m doing? This is the week of self-doubt and the week of the kindness of strangers, too. March has long meant the season of sweet maple and cold hands, of leaning hard into work, the season of faith that spring’s crocuses and snowdrops and ephemerals will return—that they always return—to remind myself that the wider world holds us inevitably, for good or ill and sometimes for both.

Cutting into with the ax,

I was surprised at the scent.

The winter trees.

— Buson

7 thoughts on “Layers.

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