Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Scarf, Gloves.

It even smells cold out there. It's 29 on the screen porch and it feels harsher than that out on the dogwalk loop, a pretty good breeze and not one cloud in the entire sky and pools of blackbirds accordioning in and out, each flock a bellows, expanding and contracting as it comes across the sky, thirty, fifty, eighty birds at a time. They always make me think of math.

The dog looked surprised, looked cold, looked like she might be in a hurry. Small, closed mouth. The tall wise man is face-down again. This was not the weather he signed on for, star in the east or not. The dog seemed sympathetic.

I say it smells like oak leaves, like sticks, like wood smoke, like handfuls of rock, like rainwater frozen in birdbaths. The Christmas lights are coming back down all over the neighborhood. I've got mine still up, though, even flicked on the tree lights before I leashed the dog so I'd have something good to come home to. I'm not quite done with all the tinsel and string, not quite done with the lights on the porch, even if one long strand of gold gave out over New Year's. There's plenty to look at once it all comes back down everywhere, plenty to record: that we've gone from brown to gray, for instance, a winter gauge of the drought lifting just barely enough to register. The physics of blackbirds. Windchimes. The crocuses will be sending up green soon enough. We'll lean towards the next week, and the next. But for now, for these few more days, I'm not yet ready to be done with the flash and shine of December.

There's a deep, deep quiet in this house with just one body in it instead of two. Or four instead of five, depending upon your math.

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