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Little Green Shoots

A soft, wet snow falls gently outside, painting tree limbs and rooftops white. The evening grows dark and the failing light casts a dull, blue hue on the landscape around me. It's still and quiet, except for the flurry of birds at the feeders. I see flashes of color -- the black, yellow, and white of chickadees, the charcoal gray of juncos, the chestnut brown of the sparrows and wrens, the brilliant red and dull yellow of cardinals, and the salt and pepper of the woodpeckers -- as they dart to and from their dinner.

Just off the porch, in a round, cut-off oak barrel, the first green shoots of summer's tiger lilies reach for the sky. The brilliant green appears foreign in the wash of white, like an imposter. I try to reconcile the barren, white world with the vibrant vitality of new life. I want to whisper, "Too soon, little ones. Try again in a week or two."

But in life, as in nature, birth and death coincide and good and evil coexist. To live is to wade through a w…

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