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Beside you I walked. Faceless men in short sleeves wearing thick gloves hauled lumber from large stacks, measured and counted the beams, then bound them together. You knelt before the stacks, peered into the grain and ran your fingers over its honed smoothness. Carefully you selected your planks.

I kicked the saw dust floors with the tip of my boot. The wood shavings and their spicy scent brought to mind our winter. The evergreens, barely visible for the heavy snow, demanded our attention. You didn’t tire easily, splitting the old pines in our yard, your breath visible in the distance. I wondered how long those white and red pines could hold their frozen burden. I imagined those trees shrugging off their weight and walking in straight lines into the tall grass plains of northern Minnesota, loyal followers of a soaring eagle. Oh!, and how I so wished they would.

You placed the logs on the stone hearth and set a fire. Everything within its proximity reveled in its warmth. And there you sat, your hands warming by the fire, a drink at your feet, beckoning me near.

I realized then I sought something other.  My back to the warming hearth, and my hands pressed against the frozen windows. The view outside contrary to everything you’d built inside. And I recalled the American eagle and its powerful flight.

Yet somehow I too understood the plight of the winter evergreen. I too yearn for a letting go, a solitary path to something other, a different kind of weather.

I know too well the condition of the flightless bird, its useless wings, its conundrum. And I understood.