November 18, 2012

North Cairn: There's something therapeutic in November's bleakness

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It was somber as abandonment at the cabin, the only stirrings the fretful flight of a few moths, tearing at the air and ripping apart the last moments of their lives. But I felt no sorrow arriving.

Indoors, I could read a little recent history in the blinking faces of digital clocks, and after I got my belongings indoors, I cleared out the freezer and any perishables that might have gone without sufficient refrigeration while the power was down. I kept an eye out for signs of mice establishing new territory, but either denial or luck won out, and I decided we still had the place to ourselves, the dog and I.

The dog. I wondered how she'd make the transition back inland, since she has spent most of her short life in love with the sea, swimming Nantucket Sound until she was just a dot on the bay's horizon to onlookers ashore. But animals are better at managing memory and sentimentality than we are; she clung to no sense of loss. When I looked out into the yard, I saw her on her back, rolling her spine into the land like a signature. It went on and on, this twisting joy: Here I am, here I am.

In the last, least light of the day, the color of the birches had gone to mauve as the minutes passed. I had never seen the white bark surrender itself in just that way before, and it seemed suddenly, softly, the subdued blush of welcome. This is the color of home, it seemed to murmur.

This is the way trees become improbable candles to light your way or serve as dropped pennants on the stilled battlefield of your life. Rest now, rest here. This is where you belong.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:


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