Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
For all things must die.
All things must die.
“All Things Must Die” Tennyson
“One shot,” he said to me. “One shot is all you get.”
Twenty-four hours previous life was normal.
Normal: conforming, adhering to, or constituting a usual or typical standard.
5:30a.m., June 8: the shrill ring of the alarm pierced through my sleep first, followed by the wafting smell of coffee. I preferred the latter over the former any day, but the latter couldn’t be partaken of without the former. Yes, I’m a snoozer by nature; hence, a coffee maker set to brew five minutes before the shrilling alarm; without that subtle smell of fresh New Guinea-brewed coffee, what motivation is there to roll out of bed.
Another normal day: Coffee, shower, dress, work, lunch, work, drive home, TV, shower, bed. Same life, same people, same exercises in normal: the quintessence of boredom, bemused I.
Stepping out into the normal humidity of the southern morning, the routine of a normal day commenced.
The Wall Street Journal littered my driveway. Although, I didn’t subscribe to the WSJ, I retrieved it thinking it must be a promotion. Free paper, nice, would give me something to read at lunch. Tossing it on the front passenger seat of the car, it joined my purse, and an old, cracked leather brief case filled with lesson plans, graded papers and articles. Balancing the coffee in left hand, shifting gears with right hand, I managed to ease on down the road without any major spills. “Normal,” I mouthed through heavy sighs.
Arriving at the college I taught, I was feeling normal as I entered the white classroom with its white board, white floors and white tables. Tick… tick… tick… abnormally normal students took their seats one by one… the tick reached its hour marking the time of beginning. I stood, picked up the papers and began returning what passed for essays, one by one. Normal: an understatement. I would’ve enjoyed reading and grading normal papers. These papers? Bleeding red ink on each page, were anything but normal. Badly written, structured, formatted. This is why I drink I dryly mused as I returned the papers to bewildered students.
No matter, put on a happy face, teach with enthusiasm reserved for birthdays and anniversaries. Little did these barely post-pubescent bodies know that for me there were no more birthdays or anniversaries to celebrate. After the death of our oldest child, my husband soon after fell asleep one normal evening to never again awaken. Upon his burial, in the mountains on Flagstaff near his brother and father, I resolved each day would be normal. With only so many tears to be cried, all that’s left is to get on with life: One normal day followed the previous normal day.
Lunchtime arrived; I mindlessly retrieved the WSJ to read what was happening in the world in which I lived. Although a part of the class, the students seemed averse to reading anything that didn’t involve celebrities and Hollywood gossip. Didn’t give me much hope for the future, but hope was a long-dead idea anyway, but still, pretense was required so I hoped to find some morsel of news that would capture the attention of attention-less students.
Unfolding the WSJ, a plain white paper floated onto my lap with the screaming headline above the fold, “You have one shot to make right that which was wronged. Meet me at 5p.m., today, at the park,” in bold red ink.
Well damn, I thought, I get one shot to make right that which was wronged. How could I possibly pass up such a glorious opportunity? The train that is my thought process left the station, much the way the Japanese Shinkansen leaves Tokyo station. Thoughts drifting past my mind like the trees and towns blur past the train.
One shot… I could start over again. Begin again at age 17… or maybe 23 when life really began. One shot… what did it mean? The thought train pulled into the station and there he was… one shot to the forehead is all I needed to make it right again. A forehead belonging to a person I knew not, but one shot is all it would take.
Realizing I hadn’t eaten my lunch and had run out of time, I went back to the one thing I mindlessly did well. In front of students who would rather be anywhere else, I remotely went through the lesson. At the end of the last class, I looked at my watch: 3:45p.m. One hour; fifteen minutes. While I decided if I was going to the park or going home, a student approached me.
“Mrs. Power?” brought me back to normal.
“Yes,” I replied to the student who had spent the last hour and fifteen minutes doodling on his pad.
“Can you help me?”
What can I possibly help you with? You doodle in class, you turn assignments in late, you are late to class. Not what can I help you with, but why? Why should I help you? The janitor makes more than I do, why should I take any more of my time and help you?! Normal…
“Yes, what can I do for you?” came my reply coupled with the obligatory smile.
“My parents are separating… I’m dyslexic…. I’m struggling…,” His words awkwardly stumbling out, his eyes down caste. “It’s hard to keep up in class. Do you think… do you… um… is it possible… um, maybe you can spend some time with me after class to go over the next writing assignment.”
I looked into the milk chocolate brown eyes of this teenage boy with short brown hair and saw a reflection of another young boy.
My son. Never normal, his energy could have lit up the city of Los Angeles. Imaginative. Athletic. Friendly. A heart pure as a first fallen snow. My son. He was lost after the death of his sister and then his father. He left home as soon as the clock ticked 18. Five years hence and I still didn’t know where he was. He could be alive; he could be dead. I knew not. No phone call; no letter; no email; no visit. All attempts to find him fruitless. A long five years it was since I last looked into his chocolate-brown eyes.
What he never knew is I understood. He couldn’t bear the weight of my sorrow and his grief. His pure heart had been broken asunder with the pieces scattered to the four corners of the earth. Maybe he had left to find those pieces. One shot, I mused.
“Yes,” I replied. “I can meet with you after class, but not today. Tomorrow. Will that work for you?”
“Oh yes, thank you, Mrs. Power.”
“You’re welcome, Colby.”
I packed my briefcase, remembering the time my husband had given it to me. After I earned my doctorate, we had gone to dinner. Before dessert, he presented me with the wrapped gift. Not much of a gift wrapper, it looked as if a child had wrapped and taped the gift. I smiled at the thought. The soft, dark chocolate leather was beautiful. “To carry your papers,” he said with a smile. He knew how much I loved teaching and how this simple case would help me along the way: 15 years ago. It really had seen better days, but I couldn’t part with it. A reminder of better days, I would carry it with me until it could hold no more papers or memories…
Walking out of the building at 4:05, the afternoon sun and humidity enveloped me like a glove. Instinctively I turned my face toward the sun. How arrogant I must look with my head held up. What did people know? it wasn’t pride that turned my head upward; it was love of the sun’s warmth on my face. Normal. I needed to feel normal.
Fifty-five minutes to decide. Did I venture to the park? Curious by nature, I knew I would. Although a silly joke, I would go just to see if maybe I could have that one shot.
Years past, I would’ve prayed, sought God’s discernment, but just as the years had passed, I no longer prayed. After my son left, I just stopped. “If that’s what God is about, you can have him,” I said to my friends who asked why I no longer attended church. “He took everything I had that held any meaning. Why should I seek him any longer? Where has he been? You keep him. I’m just as good without him as I was with him.”
Turning the engine over, the words “Can you help me remember how to smile, make it all seem worthwhile…” came through the invisible airwaves.
“Runaway train, never going back…” There the train of thoughts was again. “A little out of touch, a little insane, it’s just easier than dealing with the pain…” Memories of my beloved came flooding back. His smile, his smell, his warm embrace. The laughter of my daughter, the hugs of my son… One shot is all I needed. Normal. Breathe deeply, in through the nostrils, out through the mouth.
I drove the six miles, give or take a tenth, to the park. Forty minutes early, I thought to wait in my car, but the park bench facing the water was an invitation I could not ignore. I walked the few hundred feet and sat. How would this person know me? I surely wouldn’t know who he was… or she. I knew not what was coming, or who was coming, yet there I sat.
Turning my face to the afternoon sun once more, thirty degrees north of the equator, I soaked in the warmth of the sun while diamonds danced on the water’s surface.
“I don’t care where I go, just as long as it’s not here,” I said to the Navy recruiter. I couldn’t wait to leave the home. Sometimes you must leave to know what you’ve left and so it was with me. By the time I returned 15 years later, I was a wife, a mother, and my life was good. Not spectacular, not normal… content. Curse the one who took that from me.
On cue, and on time, a figure sat next to me.
“I know you,” said the alto voice. Bringing myself back to the present, I looked at the figure to my right. A figure cloaked in black; the face hidden behind a black hood.
“What do you know of me?” I asked.
Could I really be sitting on this bench talking to a stranger whose face I could not see? It seemed surreal… a dream… yet here we sat. I looked around me, taking in the normal of activities of mothers swinging their children, men fishing, us sitting on a bench, seemingly invisible to them. Did they not see this character out of the Dracula movies made popular with Boris Karloff and many other subsequent remakes?
“I know your anger,” came his reply.
“Fuck you! You know nothing about my anger,” I spat out at him.
“Ah, yes, I do, for I am that anger in physical form; I have been granted this physicality to offer you one shot.”
Oh great, I thought. I have mentally lost it, there is no sanity left. What the hell? Why not?
“Great! I can’t wait to take that one shot. Please, do tell?” Came the sardonically framed words.
“At 5a.m., 12 hours from now, you will be given directions that will take you to a spot of darkness, anonymity. When you reach this spot, you will be given one shot to make right that which is wrong. In that moment, you will be given a chance to find that which you seek and given an opportunity that is afforded few on this earth. No consequences befalling you for the choice you make.”
Closing my eyes, I mentally absorbed this stranger’s words. Could it be? Could I really do in 12 hours as I’ve wanted to, dreamed of doing, for years? Could I really take the shot I had taken one million times before in my mind? Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, inhale, exhale, I opened my eyes, turned to the stranger to offer my reply, only to find empty space. Frantically, I stood and ran through the park hoping to catch the stranger who had offered me this shot, but he was nowhere to be found. He had simply vanished.
I really am losing my mind, I thought. Maybe I should Baker Act myself and just be done with it. My life was too normal anyway, why not add a bit of excitement?
“Will you marry me?” asked my beloved, with bended knee in the snow.
The one I stood next to in a St. Petersburg church and said, “I do,” to. Where was he? I needed his guidance; his strong arms I needed to fall into. Where was my son? What part of this vast planet could he be? My sweet daughter, whose voice was silenced too soon: Where was she? I stood in the parking lot on that hot June day, befuddled, empty, alone. God, where are you? Oh yes, I remembered, he was nowhere to be found.
Twelve hours… well, technically speaking, eleven hours and fifty minutes.
The knock on the door resounded through the house. It was midnight. I opened the door and there stood Deputy Smith. I had met him a few years previously during a ride along. He was nice and I had immediately liked him. Seeing him upon our doorstep, I knew it was not a good thing.
“Your daughter was found tonight,” he began.
She had not been heard from in a few days and we had been sick with worry. My heart was heavy with worry, but for a second in time, the worry turned to hope which gave way to unimaginable grief.
“Where is she? We will be ready in a few minutes to go to her.” The words tumbling out of my mouth.
“Please, may I come in?” he asked.
I knew then. I turned to my husband. He took my hand, steadied me. We sat.
“She was found at Pier 1, downtown. It seems she overdosed. She was found facing the water. She is at the downtown morgue. You will need to identify her, but we know it’s her. She had her purse with her containing her driver’s license.”
There it was… it was over. Her journey was finished. Her voice stilled. The demons won. I felt myself separating into a million pieces, the fog of reality draping me in its thickness. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t feel. The sound… A guttural, primal scream… Was that me? I must’ve woken her brother. There he was, all 6 feet 4 inches of him, standing in the hall entryway.
And so, a new journey began, a journey to the end.
“Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again…”
Our home was never the same. Where once was laughter, now hung darkness. Friends came and went. The first weeks a flurry of activity but then nothing… stillness. Silence.
Leaving the park, the car clock declared: eleven hours, thirty minutes.
Driving west toward home with the afternoon sun obscuring my vision, tears brimmed, spilling down my cheeks. Turning right into the subdivision that was too big, too normal, I drove down familiar streets. Turn left at this stop sign, right at this one, left on this street, another left on another street and finally, left into the driveway that was my home.
Maybe it was all a dream. Nothing more than the conjuring of an imagination stuck on normal.
Entering the house that used to be a home, the quiet was deafening. Gone was my family; gone were our dogs. Just me and my memories.
Having become a movie line, I blindly selected dinner from the freezer. What was tonight’s meal? Ahh, tonight would be Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese. While I waited for this incredibly normal meal to heat, I showered and changed into my house clothes. An old sweatshirt that was once worn by my beloved and an old pair of sweats. The large round clock that hung in my kitchen declared the time as 6:30. Retrieving dinner from the oven, I poured a glass of Pinot Grigio. Taking dinner and wine to the living room, I plopped into the brown leather recliner that had also seen better days, I turned on the news.
“What is happening in the world in which you live?” I mused out loud as the bland blond took form reading the scripted news.
Murders, terrorists’ attacks, politicians spewing verbal stupidity to an ignorant electorate, media pundits speaking oh so intelligently about the verbal stupidity… what a wonderful world in which I live.
Switching to Netflix, I went to my favorite standby that transported me to another time: Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christy’s most enduring character, I never tired of the little Belgian man who sported a curled, thin mustache and exercised the little gray cells to solve the most lurid of crimes. The mournful solo sax followed by the piano marked the beginning of the show. I settled in for the night. Mac and cheese and wine, with Poirot for company.
Scenes of my beloved playing with our daughter on the white-sandy beach of the Emerald Coast, as I sat with our infant son… suddenly a dark figure rose out of the water, pulling them into the waves… running toward the water to bring them back… my son gone… where were they? The day turned to night, the air stilled, running in the white sand that transformed to quicksand… sinking, I was sinking… Jolted awake, dripping in sweat, I was in my home, in the recliner, the television screen dark.
Midnight, the clock screamed.
Was it all a dream? Yes, a nightmare is all it was. I went to my daughter’s room first, opened the door, empty. The short walk to my son’s room revealed the same emptiness. Oh yes, the nightmare was my reality. The house was as empty as my soul.
Had that been real or was the cloaked man part of the nightmare, a figment of my imagination.
Making my way to my empty bedroom, I collapsed onto the empty king-sized bed and slowly drifted back to sleep. Yes, a dream is all it was I told myself as once again the darkness of night crept into my mind.
The sound of my phone awoke me from my uneasy slumber. “Who is texting me this early!” I yelled at no one as no one was there. Retrieving my phone, I saw the words:
Who was this jokester telling me to drive north? 5a.m.: Mental cobwebs being erased, I remembered: one shot. Could this really be so? One shot to make right that which was wrong with no consequences… could I really have this one shot? Having nothing more to lose, I dressed, forgoing the coffee, quietly leaving the house, slipping into the darkness that was early morning.
There was only one road that would take me north and within ten minutes of leaving the house, I was north bound. Eighteen miles later, the words “turn left” lit up the phone. And so, it was… six miles, turn right; eighteen miles, turn left; nine miles, turn right; three miles, turn left. By now the paved road had become the obligatory dirt road, rutted by too many rainstorms and not enough maintenance. The car clock read 5:30a.m. Had I really crossed the distance in 30 minutes? The sun should be peeking over the horizon in twenty minutes, but at this moment it was still dark. The road illuminated alone by the car’s lights. I will need new shocks if I make it out, I thought. After what seemed an eternity, the rutted road opened into a small circular clearing.
Well, if nothing else, this day would not be normal.
In the car lights’ beams, I could see a live oak in the middle of the clearing. An opening measuring roughly twenty feet, with the oak majestically standing in the center. The stories the old oak could tell, I mused. Surrounded by pines and underbrush, the clearing should have been witnessing the eastern sky’s hints of a new day; instead, it was blacker than the deepest caverns. No stars. No moon. No dawn.
Why am I here? Ah yes, one shot. But no one was here. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know, but having come this far, I turned the lights off and switched the key to the off position. Exiting the car, I stood, the eerie stillness wrapping itself around me like cloaks word long ago. I had long ago become accustomed to quietness, but this was different. Not a sound could be heard. It was if all had died and there was only me. Well stranger, here I am I thought, bring on your madness.
As if hearing my thoughts, there he was… the dressed-in-black man with the hood surrounding his face stood unmoved. A force I could not explain compelled me to this stranger. In front of the oak with its umbrella-canopy above him, I approached him slowly.
“I knew you would come,” came the words spoken in that deep alto voice. “You are here because you seek vengeance. I know you. I know what happened and I am here to offer you one shot to remedy the past.”
The past… the past… the past… it reverberated through my mind and soul. The past… Could it be? The evil I prayed to exact vengeance on was actually here?
“You seek one man, the man who stole your daughter from you.”
I still could not see his face. I could not see his eyes. Yet, the box he held in his long, thin, bony white fingers came into view. He offered it to me and without realizing I had taken it; it was now sat in the palm of my hand. An old, sanguinary weathered box measuring no more than 12 inches long and three inches deep with a metal latch. A small symbol was etched into the lid: a circle. Inside the circle were centered three hearts with the arch of each, touching. On the point of each heart a serpent extended: three hearts, three serpents.
I could feel and see my heart pounding in my chest as I slowly opened the box. Inside rested a steel gray, black gripped Ruger SR9.
“There is one hollow-point bullet for one is all you need.”
I looked at the gun. I slowly lifted my head and for the first time, I saw his eyes: obsidian orbs.
Instead of the usual white surrounding color and centered pupil, there was darkness. An unearthly black. I stared into the unearthly black orbs… What was that? There was something deep inside the center. My eyes fixed onto his, I couldn’t avert my gaze. As I looked deep into his eyes, I began to see an image, faded as an old photograph from too much sun and time. The image slowly cleared… there was my daughter, ravaged, worn, bruised, crying. Her arms outstretched… “Please help me…” came a hoarse whisper. The voice seemed to be that of my daughter’s, but something was amiss. Try as I might, I could not escape the image that was his orbs. “Sophia?” I heard myself say. “Please help me…” came again the voice from the battered image.
The dam that held back the memories broke: images of a happier day, a laughing child, a butterfly kiss, a tender note left in my college book to be later discovered, splashing in the clear Gulf waters. Happy images gave way to dark images: holding my daughter whose arms bore fresh cuts over the scars of old cuts, the night terrors and the accompanying screams, holding my terrified and weeping child, her petite body lying inside a coffin. Anger, no it wasn’t anger, it was the paroxysms of rage filling my soul.
“He is here. The man you seek.” His voice cut through the memories. The images were gone. Were they real? I didn’t know. It seemed I had been dropped into a surreal fantasy movie. I needed the script because I didn’t know what to say, what to do.
“This moment… is yours, to carry out vengeance.”
In that moment, he stepped aside and there he was. Bound to the oak tree in the center of the clearing was the one I’d dreamed of torturing, dreamed of rendering the pain he had rendered to my daughter and family, dreamed of killing.
Rage erupted as Mt. Etna erupts, spewing fiery lava hundreds of feet into the air.
“You!” I shrieked.
Just a couple of feet separated this monster from me. Dropping the gun, I took the two steps, closing the gap and began pummeling his chest. “You! You! You!” came my primal screams. How I had dreamed of this moment. Now that he was here all I could do was larrup him with my fists as tears carved riverbeds down my cheeks.
The dark stranger was beside me; with a touch I was pulled back from the bound monster.
“One bullet,” he hissed as he placed the gun in my left hand.
Closing my hand around the grip, curling my finger around the trigger, I raised my hand leveling the barrel of the Ruger squarely on his head, his eyes closed. “Look at me! My face will be the last you ever see! LOOK AT ME!!”
Ever so slowly, he raised his head, locking his gaze with mine.
Leaning in, my lips within inches of left ear I whispered, “This day you breathe your last breath.”
As I stood erect, our eyes locked once again; his mouth began to form words, but no sound came forth.
“It speaks! What could you possibly say that will erase the pain and bring back that which you stole!” I mockingly hissed, not recognizing the sound of my voice.
Ever so softly came his response: “Please… please forgive me.”
The man was there, in my ear, in my head… forgiveness is for fools the voice said. Vengeance is yours this day, remember… remember what he ripped from your heart his voice rang through my soul. His hand touched my hand, the hand that held the gun… Lean into me, I will help you he said… At the touch of his hand, the sound of his words, darkness began to fill my soul. The tentacles of insidious darkness began to creep around my very being, slowly, ever so slowly I was being pulled into a dark abyss. Remember… the word reverberated through my heart as the vines of death wrapped around it… it was so dark… yes, this is what I want, yes, I will take the vengeance that is mine this day. Aiming the Ruger toward the man tied to the tree, finger on trigger, don’t pull, squeeze. One last look into the man’s eyes…
A glimmer, a light? What was it? Something in his eyes… what was there, a light that became a fire. No, it wasn’t fire, what was it? Drawing me in… the tentacles pulling me back… here he is, one shot is all you need. Take the shot he breathed. But the light, there was something about the light… Amid the rays emanating from the bound man’s eyes sat a figure. A small figure. Who was it? What was happening? Sophia? How could it be? She was just there in the dark man’s eyes? Who was this person? It couldn’t be her, I just saw her wounded body, yet there she was. A smile. A smile graced her face. Behind her the source of the light’s rays came into view. Who was with her? The girl smiled at me again. “Momma,” I heard the girl say. “Sophia? Is it really you?” Tears filled the rims of my eyes. “Sweetpea?” “Momma, it’s okay. I am home. I am in my Father’s house.” Father? He was dead. How could she be in her father’s house. “It’s okay momma. You must let me go now. I sing with the angels now. If you listen, you can hear me.” “I can’t hear you, please, please help me hear you,” I pleaded through tears.
Coming into view, the figure clothed in white reached his hand toward Sophia’s hand. Love radiated from his face toward my daughter, a love that was deeper than my own. Gentle eyes looking into mine, a melodic voice, “My child is home. Her wounds are no more, her hurt forever extinguished. Forgive.”
The dark man in my ear, “Forgiveness is for fools. You are no man’s fool. One shot.”
The battle between the light and the dark… the tentacles of hate held fast. “My Sophia, this is for you.”
“No, my dear momma. Do not listen to the darkness. Momma, I’m home. It is okay; you can let go now.”
A soft voice, “Ana, my beloved, hear my words. Do not avenge yourself, leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ Forgive this man; in so doing, you, my precious child, will be free.”
“A life for a life,” the dark man boomed. “You deserve to take his life.”
A song… “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see…” Closing my eyes, I could hear her voice. “Twas Grace that taught my heart to hear. And grace my fear relieved.” There Sophia was, singing with angels as her supporting choir, “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.”
Opening my eyes, Sophia was still there with the gentle figure who held her hand. “Momma, I will be here. Me and Daddy will be here waiting, but until that day, I love you. It’s okay. Please momma… you have to let me go… forgive.”
The darkness was there too. “NO! You shall have your vengeance! You cannot deny me!” came the vitriolic voice from the malevolent man.
Lowering my left arm, I reached out my right to where my daughter and Savior were… “I miss you my dear Sophia.”
“Till we meet again, momma. I love you.” The rays of light slowly faded until there was only green.
Laying the gun on the ground, I stood face to face with the man whose emerald eyes pleaded. Cupping his face in my hands, with tears still flowing, I quietly replied, “I forgive you. It is finished.”
As the words filled the space between us, the tentacles of hate around my heart slithered away going back to the bowels of hell from whence they came. A howl emanated from behind me. Turning, I faced the evil that was he.
“The one shot is not mine to take, it never was. Now leave, you have no power here anymore.”
Suddenly light broke through, piercing the darkness into a million shards of nothingness. Turning toward the bound man to free him, there was no one. Only an oak tree with a cross burned into its old trunk. As I stood there, the reality of the situation filled the morning air… my heart was free, the chains that had bound my soul had immaterialized with my decision. It was time to go home.
The car clock read 5:30a.m. How could that be? Well, after what happened who was I to question time: a blessing and a curse. A blessing for all the moments it gives; a curse for all the moments that could never be undone. Time was a curse no more.
Driving back down the rutted path that passed for a road, I entered the highway driving south. As the sun peeked over the horizon, I turned on the radio. The strings of a guitar filled the car… “Here comes the sun… doo doo doo doo… here comes the sun… and I say it’s alright…” sang George Harrison’s voice backed by the other Beatles. Yes, I thought to myself, here comes the sun. “Thank you for saving my soul tonight; thank you for letting me see my Sophia one more time.” A simple thank you to my Savior.
An hour later I pulled into the drive of my home. It was still empty, but no longer lonely. Today would not be normal; normality would exist no more. Resolving to live each day to the fullest, to do my part to make the world a better place, I walked the pathway to my front door.
Entering the house, the smell of coffee wafted through the air. Had I left the pot on all day yesterday? Walking into the kitchen, there sat my son at the kitchen counter. “Hi momma, I’m home. I made some coffee. Would you share a cup with me?”
Nothing will die;
All things will change
‘Tis the world’s winter;
Autumn and summer
Are gone long ago;
Earth is dry to the centre,
But spring, a new comer,
A spring rich and strange,
Shall make the winds blow
Round and round,
Thro’ and thro’,
Here and There,
Till the air
And the ground
Shall be fill’d with life anew.
– “Nothing Will Die” Tennyson
February 9, 2017