They say it’s colder in a thaw. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but when the ice finally rose and the land slumped back to mud, the chill of it almost cut me in half. A dank mist rose up from the marsh and ran to the yard like nausea. Cows were lost in drifts of their own warm breath, and the day glanced by in a few hours; hardly time enough to see the wild geese drive in land and out again. Perhaps this cold has been locked up in ice; it’s been buried in soil and rocks until a thaw came to share it more evenly.

I stood in the close and saw a star stir. A fragment of moon hung above the horizon, seeming to know how far away it was. It sank and placed more space between us, and then a thrush began to sing in thick, eldritch pans of hope.

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