This morning three magpies float silently from the spruce trees by the graveyard.
Voiceless, they are ghosts of their summer selves drifting across the faded sky.
Snow sifts down, cold dust.
Full moon tonight, Orion high, Sirius brilliant at his heel. Sky clear except for wisps of
cloud to the northeast. Somewhere south a single coyote calls. A cold small wind blows
from the west. I walk east towards the grid road, into the immense dark.
Tiny lights blink in the snow — moonlight refracted.
I walk to the grid road, then back and along under the elms, their shadows falling black
and contorted on the moonlit snow. The stars are distant, not netted in branches the way
they were last year.
Everything’s black and white. Ankles chafed, I go in.
Sky mottled with cloud, trees grizzled with hoarfrost. The morning sun is a pale gold coin
haloed with silver, its light muffled, colourless as the moon’s. Wind pushes me along.
Walking in my new boots and Beverly’s down coat all I hear is myself: feet crunching on
snow, the lisp of fabric on fabric. As I reach the grid road the land flings itself open in front
of me, huge and strange.
Who knew it was a pleasure to feel so small?
The white eye of the sun slides back behind clouds. Chickadees follow me to the
graveyard. I sit on the snow-cushioned pink bench, holding out peanuts till my fingers
burn with cold. After supper it’s still cloudy, still cold. I walk anyway.
No moon. The dark leans in.