Remembering Snow Light

The sun sets early. A hummingbird sits hunched in the rain. In the distance a dog yaps, slowly, repetitiously, having lost his off switch, if he has one. I am reminded of methodical wood chopping in distant, more definite winters, and of their dusk sounds, where wind says to ears with pinched edges, ``Cold is rumbling by, is hauling in

more snow,'' and says to the oak limbs, ``There's more of me than this. Be afraid.'' And the oak, in low tones, replies, ``I've seen it all. I'm making buds for April.'' Dusk comes. The mellow and imploring hoot

of a great horned owl blankets the air with softness as snow muffles the ground. Tunnels of silence open. It is never really dark in the snow, though trees extend their barked limbs. All pauses. A slow rejoicing happens,

a knowledge of things being as they are supposed to be, each snowflake in place. So much silence comes the dog breaks through, brings back the evening rain. The hummingbird is gone.

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