I stopped at an ash tree and looked at the buds on its upturned branches: slick black growths dense with life in the middle of winter. I looked at them until I realized how cold I was, jumped up and down and shook myself warm. No, this is not a season of death, I thought. Those buds point back and forth through the seasons, just as each season points back and forth to the others. Doesn’t the year complete itself in every season? Isn’t it always at home in itself?

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