#15 winter solstice 2013

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Today was a gray dream that moved from snow and black twigs outlined with immaculate preciseness, to something else that wasn't quite rain. A damp dusk walk revealed silence crunching.

_MG_9481.jpg"It's rather like snow: in the beginning,

immaculate, brilliant, the trees shocked

into a crystalline awareness of something

remarkable, like them, but not of them,

perfectly formed and yet formless.

You want to walk up and down in it,

this bleak, maizeless field of innocence

with its black twigs and blue leaves.

You want to feel the silence crunching

beneath your ... shoes, but soon ...

the trees no longer 
bear sunlight,
the sky has dragged down

its gray dream, and now it's no longer snow

but something else, not water or even

its dumb cousin, mud, but something used,

ordinary, dull. Then one morning at 4 a.m.

you go out seeking that one feeble remnant,

you are so lonely, and of course you find

its absence. An odd thing, to come upon

an absence, to come upon a death, to come upon

what is left when everything is gone."
B. H. Fairchild, from "The Death of a Small Town," in The Art of the Lathe (Alice James Books, 1998)

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