The gray sky. Trees burdened with late falling snow, aching and arching with limbs breaking into goose bumps at the thought of someone brushing against them.

All winter long there are tracks of deer, leading to the semicircle of gray, black. And a moon. A meandering stream.

All winter long snow whispers down and trickles. The birds sing nowhere. Then there are the tracks of the smaller creatures–the chipmunks and squirrel, fisher and fox.

When the buds are out, red and proper, the snow comes again and hides them.

Trees are slick with green and wet and one of them oozes white foam, like spit. A fat robin pecks at the earth. Snow melts and pools, shifts to raining. The balsams are feathery light and driveway gravel glows in the gloom.

But nothing matches the sky for its whiteness. It is a desert of white–untouched, unmoving.

On the sand, on the dunes, there are patterns and twirls, shapes and roadways. The sidewinder, the rodents, the beetles—all leave something behind. Then they fall in and out of shadow until the sun is too high and everything goes white.

It is that whiteness.

To feel those papery hands on my face once more is love, but they are as old and as cold as the old and cold sea where the snow exists forever. Where it blasts into the dark night, tracking the sky like the breath of the world—stars and meteors and comets.

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