You hear the ice crack. You hear day and night pass in their endless dance. And you awake.
Things are different than you remember. Fewer trees to the north. The soil by your pond is drier, gritty. It is too warm by half, throwing all the rhythms off. And the pond is fuller. With mud, and other things.
Still, it's good to be awake, to be alive. The rabbits, as is their habit, have woken before you. They're already deep in their preparations for the season. The ducks and sparrows are eager to tell you the winter's news. Some geese have stopped to visit; you invite them in, ask of their travels, wish them pleasant winds.
The trees, the ones who remain, are slower to notice. For a moment you fear that too many have been lost, that they've been cut off. But no, not this year, at least.
You'd survive even then, you know, as long as the brook still flows. But their lot's plenty painful as it is, without isolation to compound it.
But no, even in the drowsy whispers you can hear the resonance, despite the losses and the cuts and the bitter air.
And you know, so long as you are able, that you will continue in your duties, do what you can to keep the wheel going a little longer.
But now, while those around you wake, you have a moment, at least, to just sit and enjoy the spring.