Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Yesterday as Leah gazed out the front door across the brown lawn

She happened to see a horde of robins bobbing,

Their rust colored breasts were the brightest color

of the gray day.

But these robins didn’t bring her the loving joy of spring.

They were honestly kind of frightening.

Because it’s February for heaven’s sake and 

there hasn’t been any snow since December.

Where did the winter go?

And while we’re at it,

Where the hell did the birds go this year?


A few minutes later she put the dog on the leash and walked

down to the country store, for eggs. And the day’s mail.

And there behind the counter was the wife of the owner. Johana.

who used to make meatball grinders and turkey sandwiches daily. 

About a year ago, Johanna disappeared and no one knew why or was brave enough to ask.

Yesterday, she was back. She aged twenty years in the one since she disappeared.

 Shrunken. Grey. Her once vibrant red hair now the color of the robins’ breast.

Leah was so frightened she wasn’t sure what to say so she asked

“How is your dog?”

And Johanna said fine. And as soon as she could, she exited the store.

Terrified, she walked home. 


Now here it is the next morning.

Leah is gazing once again out the front door.

Here it izzzzzz 34 degrees.

Here it is. Still. Frozzzzzzen. 

Here she is. Still. Terrified.

No matter.

No matter that she is still in her powder blue robe.

Trembling, she steps outside without her emerald parka on.

The dog barks and follows her.

She scuffs her slippers through the crusty brown lawn

She wants to rip up the grass

And set fire to the trees.

Please God, melt this frozen heart of mine.

Help me tell the story of my healing.

The next thing she knows she is actually lying on the ground. She does a spread eagle. She feels the icy cold wetness.  She holds that position and stares into the grey clouds. In a moment, she is up she is back in the house and still trembling, she sits down at her computer. She pulls up a file at random. It’s called “Silver River.” It gives her chills to sit and read what she wrote exactly ten years ago.


To start, Leah is lying there, a fallen angel in a foot of fresh snow.  It is deep in the middle of the night.  She has wandered out to the darkest reaches of the backyard, out to the furthest row of white pines.  

Parked as she is in her white parka, in the white snow, she is almost invisible.  She is watching the sky. Waiting.  There are stars galore, the sky is splattered.  But she is waiting for something more. 

That email she got early this morning was clear: “Tonight will see the first full moon to coincide with the winter solstice in 6000 years.  The last time this happened, Moses went up to Mount Sinai for the Ten Commandment stones.  Don’t miss this once-in-ten-thousand-lifetimes event.  The moon will be so gigantic, so bright you won’t even need car headlights tonight.”

She is watching the horizon, just above the pines.  

Her attention is drawn by the soft glow of light gathering above the dark curtain of trees a few feet away.  The top edge of the tallest pine has a halo.

She goes up onto her elbows.  Steadies her gaze.  Suddenly the crisp edge of the moon is sliding up behind the tallest pine, the branches outlined.  Black fingers.  She falls back into the snow.  The flood of silvery moonlight is even more exquisite than she had imagined it would be.  She takes in one slow breath and holds it and suddenly sadness overtakes her and her eyes close. 

Leah’s breath comes blowing out in one long explosion.  She sits up.  Peels the gloves off.  Sets her hands flat in the snow, lets her fingers go numb, squeezes the snow into a freezing mess in each hand.  Warm tears pool and now the moon is almost fully visible and now, holy cow, it is a mighty white disc showering light onto the snow. 

“Leah?  Are you out here honey?”

And that’s where she stops. 

She is still trembling.

No matter, she can see her way forward.


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