A moment of snowy, golden stillness.


Birdseed slips between gloved fingers. Your hands tremble from the cold, and from the strain of remaining still for many long minutes. Shifting slightly, you lean more heavily on the back porch’s low banister. Hands jut into the white abyss, bearing a small, dark, shaky offering.

This is a rare moment; a new phone, a fast car, the nine-to-five, and an aversion to therapy have joined forces to cultivate a life of impatience, efficiency, and quick gratification. But stillness is a new and different friend, and you are happy to wait in her company.

A gentle wind picks up. Clouds shift, and the winter sun paints the scene a ruddy gold. Slivers of powdery snow, caught in the gust, dance like flames across the backyard.

A black-capped chickadee alights on the edge of the treeline, setting a thin branch awobble. You hold your breath, willing your supplicant hands to remain motionless.

The little bird, puffed up to the point of sphericity against the cold, cocks its head in the appearance of consideration. Will she answer your long, silent prayer?

The wind dies, the light remains, and the world is still.

Two small and hungry creatures share the quiet moment.

Then a distant siren sounds, the wind picks up and pushes a cloud in front of the sun, and the chickadee twitters off towards the neighbor’s birdfeeder. The moment ends.

That’s okay, you think, watching her go. Stillness edges a little closer than before. For once, you are happy to wait.

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