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  • On the sidewalk I see a baby bird: squashed flat, black feathers merging into the gray of the concrete. I looked up, searching for the nest from which it came. A flight attempted too early? A push?

    It is late winter, a time of transition. Things are dying. Last weekend, my camera died. Last week, my car died. Last month, my sister died. Six years of fighting cancer was enough, or too much. Things, people are dying in this last month of winter.

    Minutes earlier on my walk, I met a minister from our church outside the house of a neighbor – a single mom with a son and two dogs. I heard she had cancer and so inquired. “No, she’s not doing well at all,” said the minister, telling me more with her face than her words. This was the same kind woman who visited when my mother-in-law was in her final days. How can I help? Walk the dogs? Play with the boy? My neighbor’s son will be wondering what lies ahead for his mother, for himself.

    Yet with death comes rebirth, for late winter is also early spring. I hope a few birds are still in the nest; nature is nothing if not prodigious. I hope my neighbor’s son finds a good life with his uncle-turned-father in Arkansas. I trust my sister’s spouse will figure out how to reassemble her life, and that I will find a way to keep my sister in mine.

    ‘Tis the nature of change, a season of transition. I just need to remember that essence so I don’t think the sky is falling and everything is dying. For late winter is yielding to early spring; new life is budding. I lift my eyes from the wounded sidewalk. The tree above rewards me with the light green tips of new growth as I look for nests and signs of life. Somewhere, at this very minute, I know a baby is being born.
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