3:30 am

At 3:30 in the morning of a day in the first week of January it’s almost dark outside but for reflections of starlight off faceted sparkles of fresh snow that’s been falling since before dinner yesterday.

Another year.

The to-do list stretches for pages and hasn’t changed much in months which piles guilt upon guilt for my aimlessness, inattention, lack of focus. I’m writing but not publishing, floating but not boating, sitting and not scrubbing, driving not to any destination. But that’s so often what I do.

Still, it was a year like no other. I was wandering about without plan, fulfilling duties and wants and needs not necessarily in that order. She didn’t just fall into my life, I extended a tentative invitation that was accepted with complete abandon. I wasn’t using the better judgement that failed me so often in the past because there was something in how she danced to my music and her fingertips brushed my cheek and I couldn’t stay away or push away, so often my way. Surprisingly she didn’t run away when my smallnesses were put on display.

Another year.

At 3:30 in the morning it’s easy to lose faith that everything will get done, that everything is as it should be, that obligations can be met, that it will all work out. Worries at this hour expand larger than accomplishments which shrink to triviality. From dust to dust seeks to leave out the middleman and shortcut through my soul. I do this once in a while.

Falling snow absorbs every sound and silence lays inches deep all around except for a cough or sniffle in the other room interspersed with sighs of sleep when she slips back into slumber.

After she fell last month and broke her lovely face she asked if I could still love her, and I didn’t know how to respond to words spoken in a language I was never taught as a child and don’t understand. After she fell I cared for her as if I cared for nothing else and was better for it. Ask me to do anything or everything and I will try to do more but I am a wordsmith and words only point at what’s real, to speak must not substitute for what is best shown. If I show love why ask?

Another year.

St. Michael offers a candle in the night, ’tis better to love than be loved, to comfort than be comforted, to forgive than be forgiven; to forget oneself is to remember.

Softness slips up from those words to suture my roughed-up serenity. The coffee pot clicks and snaps and the freezer hums and plocks cubes into the bin, walls creak and crack with contractions from near zero cold.  Today she gets stronger, the lists are winnowed and expand again because that’s what they’re for, snow sloughs from the roof in dawning light and soon we’ll be on our way to wherever we’re supposed to be.

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About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

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