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Loss and Gain

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
― W.S. Merwin, Separation

Stick season brings a different kind of light with it. Trees stand like soldiers, marching across landscapes, over hills and deep into valleys. Without the cover of leaves, we see things otherwise obscured. The early morning sun reaches deeply across this bare landscape, shining into corners it could never reach in warmer months. Like the trees, we come to see more of the world when something otherwise essential is no longer with us. We sense the loss, yet we survive and carry on for another season.

We approach the holidays aware of who we’re missing. We make lists of who will be with us for Thanksgiving, and with the list we are reminded of who won’t be there. The puppy, who’s grown so very big in so little time, would have melted under the influence of a certain Navy pilot who could whisper mischievous things to any dog and win them over (come to think of it, he was adept at this with humans too). My own interactions with the pup are heavily influenced by observing his dog whispers once upon a time.

How do we react to a world that is filled with the starkness of loss? How do we live in a world that at times feels darker by the day? A world that feels colder than it once did when things seemed more hopeful and joyous?

We ought to remember the trees of stick season, bare and sullen in November, but one day budding into fullness once again. Reminding us that this too shall pass. All those bare trees announce something else in their nakedness. They remain linked to each other—roots entwined through the darkness and cold, supporting the whole until warmer days return again. Returning to that Thanksgiving list, I see the names of all of those who will be with us this year and I’m grateful for the abundance of character (and characters) in my life. It’s a reminder that this remains a favorite season of the year, for the warmth and light and color each of us brings to the tapestry.

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