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It started with a simple game of fetch, me throwing a gnarled stick across the yard and the dog bounding happily after it. It's mid-January, but it feels like May, all balmy and warm and awake outside. The windows are open behind me and the heat is off. (What a difference a week can make!) I hear traffic and smell the subtle scent of a coming rain shower. I feel calm.

I looked up at the bare trees this afternoon in the yard and breathed in their height. Their branches cut the sky into stained glass pieces of blue and gray. (I've never seen a window as beautiful as the sky.) I followed those branches down, through crooked limbs and sturdy trunks to the floor of the woods, strewn with wet leaves all brown and orange and gray. I threw the stick one last time and watched the dog settle in for a good chew before slipping through the gate, making my way along well-worn deer paths. The trickling of water soon replaced the noise of the road, and our little white house disappeared beh…

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