Does every living thing understand, in some way, that the winter solstice has passed happily again? That, without any of us - people, beavers, trees - having done much toward that end, the earth is tilted at just the right angle? Is spinning at just the right velocity? Circling the sun at just the right speed? And, thank heavens, at just the right distance from the sun?

The ancients held their breaths every year at about this time, and surely my own ancestors wrung their hands, as darkness kept on coming, pushing in to every enclave of the living.

But, lo, life proceeded as it always had, in the history of memory and story, the extra increments of light even measurable a few weeks after the event. So silent, so unobtrusive a miracle.

The trees would green up again, embryonic seeds would stir, animals would nest, food would grow for us all. In modern times, we can even assume asphalt will crack up and let water through to the soil.

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© 2003 by Pamela Thompson, Giving Ground - all rights reserved

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