I grew up here. This morning, the blue alfalfa glowed with frost, the sunrise cast sharp shapes over the rows of cut corn. I stepped around a fence that my grandfather set by hand before I was born. My white breath climbed the trees and a bird called a song that I did not know. A pair of startled deer leaped, their white tails pointing up straight, their effortless speed carrying them over the hill.

Somewhere under the dark surface of the frozen pond slow fish burrowed in the silt, nesting among broken bobbers and tangled gossamer lines, rusted hooks, and pop can pull tabs tossed in when I was a kid. My face was stiff with cold. A fringe of icy pebbles fused to my pants cuffs, my heat collecting them as I walked away from this place that I love; they tick-tocked to my footsteps, pulling me down to this ground like a hundred lost lead sinkers.

– Teresa Kiplinger

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