Separation

Each morning this week I’ve peered out the window to see a world pricked white with ice and wrapped in heavy fog. Frozen shards of moisture cover the trees, the buildings, the tractors and everything else in my view. Suspended in air, not-quite-frozen moisture thickens the spaces between things.

It’s beautiful, this tinsel and wrap, but I can tell it is heavy.

***

Yesterday, I went snowshoeing through the orchard,  following the small confetti trail of rabbit tracks. I often head out into the world randomly, so having this path to follow is a way to stay grounded. This farm does that for me, sometimes; it provides an anchor, a true north. Lately thought, I’ve been questioning this particular compass.

***

On my way back through the trees, I noticed a few of them had begin to splinter, limbs bending off from body. The weight of all this beauty, the fine, natural form of all those wet molecules has become too much for them after a week — or a lifetime of such weeks. This splitting open of wood and membrane is beautiful in its own way, but painful to observe. This kind of split grows with weight and time and pressure, and soon the limb will pull from the trunk, be torn in two.

***

Life on the farm, for its beauties and wonders, is heavy this time of year. The rabbits are slow and skinny; sometimes ripped apart by predators more assertive than them.

There are apple trees standing dead and brown from last year’s hard winter. The whole world seems to reflect a frozen pond reality of earthy and sky, high and low, beauty and horror.

***

I’ve been thinking about separation a lot lately, and what it means to be close, to share a bond. Two years ago I grafted some of the trees in our nursery with my partner. After a second winter, many are dead. The graft was too weak, or the force of nature too strong. In some cases, the root stock lived, firmly planted in its new home. All grafts have this potential; all transfers run the risk of not taking to their new home.

***

Trampling through the snow,  through powder and across drifts hard with midnight cold, I am a my own world of paradox. I am molecules and atoms swirling in a void of separation and disconnect. And I sometimes want to pull apart, freely, away from this center of gravity and drift on. This is as natural as existence, as harsh and beautiful and cold.

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