Stone Willow

willow_bud

Janus is a Roman two-faced god. He looks backward upon the path traversed whilst surveying the shrouded future, a guardian of gateways and thresholds for whom this month is named.  It’s a long climb up from the bottom. The mountain goat’s hooves spark striking stone hoisting a coiled serpent tail from the black waters of late December. Twenty-one days have passed since the sun stood still at solstice.

The dog and I go out in the morning seeking, in fog, in rain, in frost. We search for tracks and signs, delimit fleeting clouds, eavesdrop on the crows gossiping between the fir and the oak. Walking in the rain down the steep hill to the park before Christmas Eve, I slipped on wet leaves and pine needles. I stumbled to the pavement, falling down to one knee and the heel of my right hand. We finished our tour, Mercy’s leash loose in my left hand, and came home. I bound up the wrist in an Ace bandage to support and immobilize it. Each day it improves, but there is a click inside now close to the bone that reminds me I am not young.

The new is waiting tightly as the old falls away. Last year’s leaves lie sodden against fences and curbs, spinning slowly away in the rain showers, down the hill.  Today we saw willow buds beginning to crack their pods and green tips of daffodil and crocus jaunty in the mud. Exhale now. The light returns.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea attended the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College, graduating with a BA degree in English. She embarked on a long career in technology and public service before returning to letters. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay competition, Treefort’s 2017 Wild West Writing Prize, and was named runner-up in Cutbank #88 short prose contest. Recent work appears in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and Watershed Review. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kim lives in Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador in the rain. Unless otherwise credited, all photographs and images on this site are the original work of the author who retains all rights to their use .

2 thoughts on “Stone Willow”

  1. Amen to that. Sorry to hear about the new click, though. No, we are not..young…as much. I like the two-faced god for how she leaves this month. Good reminder, 21 days already! Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

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