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  • Writer's pictureJohn R

Reckoning with December


December. Of the late-year months, it is November’s more glamorous, more celebratory twin. Flower beds are mulched; festive snows are coming. A new year is on the horizon.

 

December. A time of reckoning. Which things went well this past year? The newly planted Japonica. Poblano peppers. Butter lettuce.

 

And things of a more personal nature.

 

Which things did not go well? Garlic. Jalapenos. The newly planted lilies.

 

And things of a more personal nature.

 

December. The ground is wet, silent, tired from its year of trying. Now it is sheltering, gathering strength for the next season of growth. Juncos hop and flutter amid damp leaves looking for seeds of coneflowers and asters. Robins sample the berries of the pyracantha and mountain ash. The still cold air holds the sheet music for a discordant symphony of chirps and trills.

 

I went fly fishing the other day. Standing thigh-deep in the chilled insistence of the Rogue River, bundled with layers of clothing. Mists eased along the surface. Trout leapt out of the water as they chased mayfly nymphs. A beaver appeared along the far shore, its sleek brown head periscoped just above the surface. Two bald eagles fussed and cried in the top of a Douglas-fir. Here and there on the rocky bottom of the clear river, undulating slowly in the current, were the bones of salmon. They had spawned and died, their flesh now sustenance for crayfish and caddisflies.

 

December. Put your bare hand into the swiftly moving water. What you touch in the Present is already the Past. What the Future brings is upstream, yet to find its way to you.

 

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