The thirtieth of November. Snow is starting to fall. A peculiar silence is spreading over the fields, the maple grove. It is the thirtieth of May, rain pours on ancient bushes, runs down the youngest blade of grass. I am trying to hold in one steady glance all the parts of my life. A spring torrent races on this old slanting roof, the slanted field below thickens with winter’s first whiteness. Thistles dried to sticks in last year’s wind stand nakedly in the green, stand sullenly in the slowly whitening, field. My brain glows more violently, more avidly the quieter, the thicker the quilt of crystals settles, the louder, more relentlessly the torrent beats itself out on the old boards and shingles. It is the thirtieth of May, the thirtieth of November, a beginning or an end, we are moving into the solstice and there is so much here I still do not understand. If I could make sense of how my life is still tangled with dead weeds, thistles, enormous burdocks, burdens slowly shifting under this first fall of snow, beaten by this early, racking rain calling all new life to declare itself strong or die, if I could know in what language to address the spirits that claim a place beneath these low and simple ceilings, tenants that neither speak nor stir yet dwell in mute insistence till I can feel utterly ghosted in this house. If history is a spider-thread spun over and over though brushed away it seems I might some twilight or dawn in the hushed country light discern its greyness stretching from molding or doorframe, out into the empty dooryard and following it climb the path into the pinewoods, tracing from tree to tree in the failing light, in the slowly lucidifying day its constant, purposive trail, till I reach whatever cellar hole filling with snowflakes or lichen, whatever fallen shack or unremembered clearing I am meant to have found and there, under the first or last star, trusting to instinct the words would come to mind I have failed or forgotten to say year after year, winter after summer, the right rune to ease the hold of the past upon the rest of my life and ease my hold on the past. If some rite of separation is still unaccomplished between myself and the long-gone tenants of this house, between myself and my childhood, and the childhood of my children, it is I who have neglected to perform the needed acts, set water in corners, light and eucalyptus in front of mirrors, or merely pause and listen to my own pulse vibrating lightly as falling snow, relentlessly as the rainstorm, and hear what it has been saying. It seems I am still waiting for them to make some clear demand some articulate sound or gesture, for release to come from anywhere but from inside myself. A decade of cutting away dead flesh, cauterizing old scars ripped open over and over and still it is not enough. A decade of performing the loving humdrum acts of attention to this house transplanting lilac suckers, washing panes, scrubbing wood-smoke from splitting paint, sweeping stairs, brushing the thread of the spider aside, and so much yet undone, a woman’s work, the solstice nearing, and my hand still suspended as if above a letter I long and dread to close.