A Hard Freeze is Coming

New Year’s Eve morning. Four days of freezing weather ahead. Today the weather is brisk but properly bundled up the air is bracing.

I pass a Christmas tree thrown into the ditch along my street. Stripped of almost all its finery, a plain tin ornament is still attached by a loop of rough twine. I snap it off and slip it into my pocket.

Early on this Sunday morning I am almost alone with the gray skies and Christmas decorations.  At the place where my path begins to turn back home, I see in a distance too far for hailing a man walking his dog.  Three quarters of the way home, I stop to watch as a leaf floats to the pavement at my feet. I look up at a tree made colorful by autumn foliage. Two women out walking together greet me.

Nearly home, I stop at the house with the abandoned Christmas tree. I carefully place the tin ornament on the porch, next to the wheels of the baby stroller.

As I pass my neighbor’s house, the red, green, and yellow of her Christmas lights, the same colors as my tree of falling leaves, bring warmth to a cold winter’s morning.

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