Once again the world is gifted white when wily April shoots should show tenderer green to eye and wanting heart.-- How brittle the perfect dryness of the air! Every inch of existence primly trimmed with just an airbrush dust of snow, flat as eyesight in a photograph; the perfection of new Nature, stilled. Life's ever-active riverflow of being contracts molasses-like to one chill pond, stopped in pre-sentiment of what pebble? The million-thronged trees' unbudded candelabra, the fine artifacts of grassblades glassed and frosted in a frozen breath, transform from windowsill to edgeless space in this final winter etching, this landscape postcard all in white and pencil-grey outline held in single view as I awake with daybreak. The house is silent as the dawn. Already Jenny's made her weary way to school, burdened with a bustling brood whose seasons reel through one long unrepeating era, young buds who will not sleep or freeze until their age is in its autumn-time. Before me is this image of life suspended, a moment held fresh as in a crystal ball stamped with a year and place, and handed over, with all its little glitters in a tempest. My eye inspects what whiteness is presented: what unexpected extra blank at the back of last year's calendar! What clock put wrong; what skipped day resurrected! At my eye's periphery brood "houseless woods" where I send my grieving soul to dwell. Coldly I brood on all my love has lost, what friendships stripped that'd been the shred that kept my poor humanity's modesty intact which had been stick-figure naked otherwise. And on lovers lost in unloving spite, I brood: lovers lost to other moons, other moods. Of those inevitable shrivings shorn by death: the loss of parents, the storm of mourning. My mind's a crowd of moaning ghosts; their razor keening strikes unanswered. I can imagine no one who will know me here, here in the heart of hurt, but you. And so I write to you, CPH, remembering days unnumbered of comfort and of calm, of sympathy dripped in intravenous balm; I sit in meditative state like a static dream until all that is is only seems. Like an anchoress rudely caught in her cell of thriving thought you come, a lady-maiden, to my reviving hive, honey-laden. A lady white in a sparkled gown across the frost, across the frozen ground, you glide unspeaking to my icy window, and I am left in speechless mists-- a traveller without a tale to tell, unwelcome come to the Magic Mountain, a little engineer enmeshed in the kicking cogs of my own circumstance! I reach for meaning in my winter world and recall your caution, often sung with a little cornered smile and saddened eye, "First there is a bridge, and then there is no bridge," for how our connections come and go, how what we mean today may seem meaningless tomorrow, how light may fade and dark may grow.... Long our converse might have been today! Many the complaints I've harbored home, many the restless thoughts that pester glum tongue and pain-spiked skull. Instead I find myself in ensorcelled silence, quiet as real around me as a deadened pulse, all the world without neither snow nor spring, time itself neither then, nor now, nor anything. And yet, having added my misery to thee in absentia, and thinking of such speeches past as my catastrophes have cast into your ears, and of such listening as you have often given, whole-hearted--whose only recompense was to weep in fulsome sympathy, I feel fresh, unburdened, although no secret has escaped my scraping pen.