Trees. Answers.

Hardwick, Vermont

I wrench my upper arm furiously chopping wood on this wet afternoon. It’s forty degrees and raining. December, and we’re in that nether time between Thanksgiving and that next round of holidays. There are times when I wonder what day it is; we’re in this gray zone where days unfurl as a stream of gray. The nights are overcast, and January’s brilliant stars and cold seems far away.

The news is all bad. There’s really no sugarcoating the chaos. In the meantime, we make do. I pull on my boots and raincoat and head into the woods. Rain falls from pine needles.

Log by log, I keep our hearth warm. The cats do their house cat thing, purring, darling. I’ve lived in Vermont most of my adult life, and I’ve had the love-hate relationship with winter that’s so common. So much of winter is introspection, opening an aperture to ask what things mean in this quiet space. This year…. this year bears plenty of questions. Hence, the slog through the few inches of wet snow to stare up at the dripping trees.

Reprieve

This morning, I’m in the snowy garden assessing the remaining kale. As I lift the limp leaves, crusty snow crumbles fall into my boots and around my sockless feet.

Walking back to the house, my daughter’s outside in a t-shirt, feeding her chickens leftover popcorn.

Kale, garlic, onion, fennel-sweet sausage for a savory soup. Mid-December. Take heart.

We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.

— Louise Glück

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