By the time you reach 56, life has become so choked with memories you start to wonder if the present is nothing more than a timid outgrowth of the past. You can’t wander down to the mailbox and not recall how you pick-axed the road or drilled the well or nailed up the fence, or maybe saw the biggest horned owl ever. This trove of experience ties us to the comfort of days when memories were less intrusive. Days dumped into a great river of personal mythology. Days that in later years, will overflow their banks at every opportunity.


It used to be that you were not particularly mindful of the first fall of snow. Now as you sense the universe can grow cold, those first swirling flakes and frozen puddles have found their place. They make the coming winter seem a more predictable and unhurried affair. When the darting frenzy of the hummingbirds dwindled at the end of summer, and the feeders you had been so careful to keep topped up, needed less and less attention, only then did you know how the end would come. Not in some brilliant windfall of glory and self sacrifice. But in those ancient memories that come unbidden, crowding out the focus youth had been so careful to acquire, and making smooth what never was.

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