When the Light Drains the Night

When the Light Drains the Night

Solstice, the shortest day, and the light is falling too early through the cabin windows, the cabin falling dark too quick. Holding my eyes wide open, I have said to the white-gray light all day, and plead with it now in its hour of pageantry: don’t go. All day I have worried I will grow old.

The pageant retreats, bleeds the mass of pines on the ridge like ink running down the bare hills. Venus beaming hard as quartzite in the western sky and the night stretching out like a dark sea before me, I walk out across the frozen fields, out under the pines. At times I have wanted to tether my body to this ground and cry out, I will never leave you! (The ways that I plead and bargain against all reason with the sun and Earth.)

Recently I untethered myself from another, from a future I thought I’d have, from the lips that told me, Here is the world. I craved these days of solitude (ten days speaking to no one in the midwinter, seeing no one). This emptiness. With my future undone, I am trying very much to live in the present. I am clinging and grasping to each day. I feel time is slipping from my grip, that there are days gone that can never be gotten back, that I am falling and that there’s nothing at all to stop me, nothing to hold me here.

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