This morning, the pee bucket is frozen solid on the porch. Rhododendron leaves huddle like pups. Dead leaves curve their spines in the morning light, kissed by frost. Glistening, they are like one thousand scattered forest sleepers, uncurling their pale, white backs to greet the day. A high of thirty-four. Finally, sweet winter begins.

And here again by nightfall, the season begs for attention underneath a full moon. An owl hoots. There is a shriek in the thicket. Nightkill under this wild, blue light. What predator stalks me in my cabin as winter freezes its way beneath the soil? What tendrils of thought are chased down into my bones by the frost, fated to be heaved up to the surface for scrutiny? What births will come from the death of autumn?

I examine my urge for acceptance. I question my motives in speech. I marvel and grow weary of this incessant attraction to men. I dig down, down, down to the soft spots of it all and see a sadness based in fear. It’s something we all have but only sometimes touch. It’s cold down here in the deep, dark much of it. But if I shine my gaze gently, like the warming light of the early morning sun, the hardened icicles in me will begin to melt, each drip winding it’s way to some greater collective.

Winter lives in me this way. It is my favorite season for the raw lessons it paints across the canvas of each day. Threadbare. Tumultuous. As swift as an owl’s capture and equally as brilliant.

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