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by Christiane Pelmas This morning it is cold frigid air has cast a spell and from where I stand in my parka and boots warm on the inside of the door nothing moves out there

Moments later nostril hairs frozen to each other I crunch through snow to the back fence of our yard beyond that, three lush snow-covered pines

After trying to open the compost lid its frozen seal unyielding I give it one hard kick with my lug-soled boot cracking its secrets open to this morning’s air

As I bend down to make my offering of spent black coffee grounds and fragile yellow onion skins I am baptized bathing in the unmistakable steaming smell of life and death

And all of a sudden as if the spell has been lifted the dark inner branches of the three lush snow-covered pines come alive with sound of bird song every key, all tempos wending their way through the trees like invisible garlands surely even the rain forest cannot compete with this glorious cacophony

As if emerging before my eyes below my feet I notice captured in the icy snow a chaos of confluent and diverging traffic patterns hundreds of footprints of morning dove rabbit flicker starling finch and of course cat forever cat

I close my eyes but not before my tears are found by the frigid air

On the other side of this moment this blessed synesis I return anew across the yard a woman greeting the world as if for the first time