restricted access Hunkering Down
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58   Hunkering Down the smell of dirt, always the smell of dirt —Kathryn Stripling Byer In the half-light of winter when skies hang heavy and souls seek sunlight, I walk out, let the cold clean and lift me, discover what the snow drapes and reveals: rectangular holes of woodpeckers lodged in long-dead trees, green crowns of mistletoe in stately oaks, turkey-scratch and doe-step to be scried for wisdom. Hunkering down with books and quilts before hearth and fire, rest the body, grow the soul. Come earth thaw, the smell of dirt presses me down and down, heat diminishes me until I walk out of a night, seek respite from the angry eye of summer. My bones cannot forget clouded places of misty days and wind-spirited nights where elders nod, children huddle in furs, and fireshine glitters harp strings in great halls while winter howls and golden eyes lurk in the dark. ...


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