(last weekend) It’s much too late and the midnight air is crisp, almost sharp when you breathe. Time has gone so quickly and tomorrow it will snow, with rain and fog and all that to follow for days so it’s got to come in tonight, no question. It’s still full of straggler leaves that have been blowing around the yard from the unfinished clean up and the bucket it sits in will surely be frozen almost through on account of an early cold snap. It may just have to sit inside a day or 2 until it melts enough to crack away the ice. I shake out the leaves and then reach in to pull out the ones that won’t come loose. The night feels unbelievably still, not a sound, and it’s hard not to look up and search the sky for where this silence comes from. The incandescent light from the kitchen spills out onto the patio, warm and shallow, no match for the massive night. A quick shove and the whole thing is in, the tree, the bucket of ice, couple of leaves. The world turns inside out for a moment and this forest creature leans against the wall so clearly displaced and I remember why this stops me in my tracks every time, why it re-frames my everyday in a way that is each year a small revelation, the order of things asserted by a tree.
A few short weeks in my fragile ecosystem and we will part ways. But right now, the longest, darkest night of the year, this tree and the cold night sky, I know once again that they are so much bigger than me.
note: ornaments made by my dad when I was a tiny kid, no we do not put all of our letters on the same line