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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Circle of Life


Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
Mary Oliver

Last summer, a young couple bought the house across the street from me. It was previously owned by an old couple named Baggett; he, a retired train engineer for Southern Railroad, she, a Sunday School teacher. The basement was filled with model train layouts, so my sons loved to go over there and watch trains, both large and small, zoom around the tracks. Mr. Baggett died about twenty years ago after a long decline during which he became irascible and difficult for Mrs. Baggett to handle. When he died, she had a celebratory ice cream social for the entire neighborhood—my sons remember that with great amusement. After many years, her children moved Mrs. Baggett to Florida so she could be close to them, and the house sat empty. Her grandson came to live in the basement apartment for a number of years after graduate school, then he, too, moved on. When Mrs. Baggett died, her children came, cleared out the house and put it on the market. This young couple—she, a doctor, he, a church musician—bought it almost overnight.

Within a month, they had painted it inside and out, redone the kitchen and the basement, and transformed the yard into something attractive. They removed the wrought iron burglar bars from the windows, and added a new open-glass door. The exterior had been yellow rock and brick, natural colors. The paint they applied appeared to be pale gray, trimmed with black, very handsome, very modern. I liked it. Then within a couple more months, they'd added a baby boy to the household, and suddenly we have a whole family—the circle of life, ever turning.

This morning, with snow on the ground and roof, I see that the house is actually cream-colored, in fact, almost yellow. How does snow do that? How did a simple change in light, a roof gone from black to white, show an entirely different color on the house. 'Tis a mystery of the universe!

Snow is the universal, soft, white, cozy blanket; the great changer of motion and activity. Someone posted on Facebook that there will be a bumper crop of babies in October, 2017. A friend, who works at a local Walgreen's, confirmed that, in fact, sales of alcohol and condoms was up on Thursday. Along with milk and bread, snow necessities, I suppose.

What I love is the turning—of life and death, of movement and stasis. This is the ultimate cycle of birth, growth, reproduction, death, rebirth, resurrection happening to a neighborhood and to a people. It confirms that all is not lost, life goes on, and all things change in their season.

                                                             In the Spirit,

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