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Day 37

The sky is a churning gray tinged with purple, punctuated by an hourly flight of squawking geese (Sophie points at these, squealing and babbling something akin to "birds"). Across from our apartment, the empty field is the tawny shade of prairie desolation, the tall summer grasses long since dead but persisting in their desert color through the cold.

As we walk, I wish I knew the names of all these grasses, and of the few trees with leaves the color of sage (leaves which do not fall for the winter). To name a thing is to allow it life. I make a mental note to download that plant identification app again, to take Sophie outside and start giving names to things.

This is our first year in Utah living in a slightly more rural area, and being nearer nature makes the changing seasons easy to bear. I suppose I see how the whole earth is not so much suffering as adapting, with or without me.

And of course, winter does possess its own brand of beauty. It's the beauty of brutality, of the cold clearing the earth of old things, of making space for another cycle of green birth, the ripening of sun-life, the colorful decay of autumn, the pale hand of winter, ripping things from their roots. I, too, feel a bit uprooted in winter, too close to the truth of things (the truth of a thing stripped of everything but its life). On walks beneath the clouded night sky, I wonder, sometimes, what of me will be left for the spring.

Life has begun curling into itself, inaugurating its yearly hiding. From this hiding comes interior maturation, fed by cold skies and the long silences which resound across desolate fields.

Out of the yearly hiding will come new lives, new selves. But first we burrow in homes and read, think, not doing anything without reason. First we wait with our mugs of tea, making peace with our cold-driven banishment from the natural world (to be cast out of the garden, again and again, wandering in the land of desolation).


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