A man stands outside in pajama pants and a hoodie, while the yellow dog sniffs undisturbed snow under the weighty boughs of the sleeping evergreens. And the fuzzy stars shine. Stuck in the middle of fading in, or fading out, and it’s another night of unsettling silence in a Michigan winter that shows no sign of mercy.
Invisible fingers are reaching—touching deep—penetrating his skin. Squeezing with all their icy might to grip, hold tight, and shatter the bones within.
He feels the crack coming. Is aware that this reckless life has filled his fibers with fissures that cannot be repaired. But he believes enough in silly things—like true love, grace under pressure, and finding god on his own—that he musters enough strength each night to fight for dreams that leave him hopeful each morning. And so, he is able to swing his feet over the edge of the bed, put one foot in front of the other, and create meaning in his messy existence and he is able to savor the sweetest things.
Like staring up into the dark blue sky. Getting lost in an instant of bright movement. Brilliant motion that shifts the plates and shakes the core. Makes the warmth rise up inside so that the spirit tingles, and the touch of the dog’s cold nose on his hand gives him the sensation that he’s taking his first breath. That he has been given another chance. To be better and stronger. To live again as if all of this is unfamiliar and new.