The new year dawns on Pine Street. It brings with it the essential learning of time: it moves unceasingly.
Whether we decide to fill a day with joy or fear, anger or love, twenty-four hours click by.
Arbitrarily, we mark a point on the calendar to end one year and start the next. Our souls respond by calling us to look back, and forward, and take stock.
Pine Street itself feels caught up in the effort to understand the year that is ending. Closed doors and empty storefronts tell their stories in silence, even as reader boards and signs speak messages of hope. Snow clings to sidewalks where sunlight never quite reaches. Trees pull their energies inward.
One magnolia already shows the small, furry buds that will blossom early in the spring.
Franny walks these streets daily, bundled against the cold, the steam from her breath behind her mask fogging her glasses. At least it keeps my face warm, she thinks, taking her glasses off for a moment so she can cross the street safely.
She pauses for a moment at the magnolia tree, touches one of its soft buds. We are learning what we need, truly, and what we can let go of.
Whatever the new year brings, the three hundred and sixty five days that click by with twenty four hours each, she knows that this place is her home, for now.