Waiting Again for Winter

New England birch child, oak-crowned elf, I miss the turning of autumn, the fall of fire and gold in torrents one day to leave the trees naked and reaching the next. I miss winter. In Connecticut, I could sit at the overlook of Webb Mountain Park, and watch whole clouds drift down the Housatonic River, between the hills of Shelton and Derby or Ansonia, sky elephants come down to the river for a drink.

There was a tree in the lot across from my house, and I’d go down to the bus in the mornings, breath hanging in air, and the roundness of this tree was like a gazing ball. It would streak yellow out of nowhere, and sit a week like a catseye marble. And then the leaves would all turn gold, and they’d drop, and the hills would be bare. There would be no sky-elephants, sipping at the river, no fog curling up the hills. That would wait until spring. The woods were nude, and sitting up at the overlook, or on Sunday mornings when my mother kidnapped us to church, I would watch the hills. From far away, the reaching scraping branches looked like pussy willow fuzz, down feathers, kitten fur. This was the most beautiful thing to me about winter. The ground and her white cloak were too unpredictable, but the hill fuzz was always there, this and the pale sharpness of the sky. Birch child, oak-crowned elf, little one of the hill folk, I’d sit there, high on my glacial stones, and watch the sun set early on the naked world.

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