When I was a child I imagined that the seasons formed a rectangle, with spring on the right side (going up). summer on the top (never long enough), fall on the left side (going down), and winter on the bottom, a long white slide of coldness.

I imagined that I was like one of my brother's trains, chugging along the parts of this rectangle, each with its own joys. And now? We are speeding down the left hand side of the seasons, heading for winter. I am shocked and dismayed at how early the light goes (especially now we've switched to Standard Time, curse it!), as if some punishing person were whipping the light out of sight. "That's it! You've had enough glory! Time for darkness."

The geese have flown high overhead, stopping only occasionally on the beaver pond nearby. It reminds me of my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, The Long Winter, when Pa returns from hunting geese only to tell the family in a low, worried voice that there were no birds on the lake. They were flying high and straight south with no stopping. (Hint: when you are going through a rough time in your life, this is a grand book to reread, as it is all about survival and courage.)

The other day my husband (Rick to you, sweetie pie, honey bunch, and dashing lad to me) and I walked our Jack Russell up the road to another beaver pond. We paused to look at the beaver hut there, and I can tell you, it is the biggest thing I've ever seen. It looked to be about 16-20' high above the water, dark and mud-plastered, with tree branches erupting from the wattle, like a medieval castle bristling with weapons.

"Is this a sign of what's coming honey?" I asked, tightening my grip on the leash as our foolish terrier wanted to dive into the water, swim out to the hunt, and kill beavers.

"I don't know." He shrugged. "But it does look as if the adults and kits are snugging in for a long, cold winter."

With a cold wind blowing I thought of the many people who have no hut to snug into, who are in shelters--IF they are lucky--or on the street or maybe in cars, if they have them. It breaks my heart how unequal wealth is in the country (sorry, I can't help talking politics--my parents were Marxists), how many suffer and cannot get a leg up. So I will buy food at the grocery store and take it to the Survival Center. I will buy diapers for the parents who cannot afford them and who must have diapers in order to place their kids in Child Care, in order to hold down a job. (And, just sayin'-- Trump admitted he had NEVER changed a diaper.)

I am one of the lucky ones, standing in the ferns by the beaver pond, wearing a warm coat and scarf, and heading back soon to a cozy house with a roof, beds, running water, food, and electricity. I am blessed, and I know it.


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