Winter

Winter sneaks up on you.
You’re crafting,
watching Netflix,
drinking tea,
hoping for a snow storm,
still anticipating those days
of stark beauty
and coziness.

You think you’re fine.

Unexpectedly, the first warm day comes—
birds sing,
buds swell,
the smell of damp earth rises
all around you—
and you feel yourself start
to thaw in places
you didn’t know
were frozen.

You realize
you were never okay.

How much of your life
have you spent hibernating
without knowing it?

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Cottonwood buds.