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  • Julie

NEAR WINTER


Last night, or as it really was, last late afternoon, Gus and I scuttled around in the twilight wrapping up the day's loose ends. Gray clouds stretched across the sky like thick wool roving and the mud that caught and slipped under my feet only two days ago held firm. In the early morning I had witnessed some fool barn cat putting her faith in the pond's glassy edges, the ice having finally begun an earnest spread of its thin and veiny webs. I could neither imagine this prowl to be safe nor that a cat two tail flicks away from feral would give one iota of a damn about my thinking so. The latter, however, did not stop me from dry ground preaching while watching her for some time. She, unmoving, watched me right back. I was thinking of her as we crunched blind and without reserve over newly frozen earth toward the chicken coop, a mired path recently traversed gingerly and now plodded over with sure-footed abandoned. We seem to know without being told sometimes, don't we? The earth's smell (or absence of), how hard the wind bites, at which angle the sun hits, the crunch to be heard from the underside of a boot- all little barometers in their own rights, all announcing our home in the season, all pointing to where exactly our feet or paws can safely land. After some consideration I have decided to lay down the mantle of ice prophetess shouting her worries from a distance and across species, and instead am nestling deeply into the comfort of the steadfast and natural world. I imagine the cats, unmoving, are already pleased.


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