First Snow

There is something about the way the trees, barren of their leaves, splay their branches in winter that I find almost unbearably lovely, as if all sinew and veins in the black night, like someone’s hands holding back the sky.

Today is the first snowfall of a year in which fall has lingered nearly longer than I might have liked; this afternoon, heavy rains made sodden the last remnants of autumn’s leaves, made dark the branches and trunks, made grey the horizon to which I was driving towards, the banks of the rivers overfull, nearly flooding, something inside me heavy and full too.

This morning, I stood in the shower and cried. I don’t think I could have said for what. Maybe there was something about the way the water rushed down the drain, a kind of letting go. Maybe it was the quiet of the house, empty of other people, the roof outside devoid of bird song. This morning I stood in the shower and cried; this afternoon, the skies did it for me, as if water was always the way we lessened ache.

Now, past dark, I stand on a porch and in the glow of its lights enjoy the first snow, watch the children throw the snow at the screens, at the trees, slide their feet back and forth across the lawn as if gliding, stomp their boots, their mittens, fistfuls of white, snow held to their mouths, held to the sky, small hands tossing white snow upwards so that it seems as if it is falling again, a second chance at a first time.

They are so happy there, doing what children do best, finding joy in all of the small crevices in which it might hide. I want to learn to take joy as children might, until it fills up my hands, want to hold joy so fiercely that it might never be taken from me. I want to fill myself, until I am brimfull and spilling over, like the snow on these heavy branches, fill myself up on all their lovely, aching joy.


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