As Solstice Comes

The moisture falling from this morning’s leaden sky vacillates between gentle rain drops and the harsh rattle of sleet. The grass shimmers a little in the faint light from the glaze.

We retreat inside. Oakley is in no hurry to go anywhere, and with the roads likely growing slick, neither am I. I cooked a lot of Indian food yesterday, so we have curried chicken, spiced chickpeas, and rice to warm the day. Will we get out for a proper walk at the forest preserve today? I hope so.

A hawk followed us the other day. Every few steps, he took off from his branch, parted the air with his wings, and glided over our heads to a tree further down the path. He followed us until we returned to the parking lot, then wheeled to the west, the dimming light silvering his belly.

I think I had a discussion with an owl the other day. Hoo-hoo-hoohoo, she called. I hoo-hoo’d in response. After a pause, she responded. Did I say something comprehensible in raptor? I don’t know. Still gave me chills.

In a matter of days, the trajectory of the sun will follow the train tracks at the entrance of our nearest forest preserve, sinking into the western horizon as if traveling along them. Skies permitting, Oakley and I will watch. Not too long, since sunset is closing time for parks and preserves around here. But long enough to acknowledge the passage into the winter, and long enough to lift a prayer that the coming light illuminates the hearts of all.

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