A few others, their glances, strong sunbeams where the midrise buildings allow passage, trees half denuded, and a line of taxis on this street of a bedroom community at 2 p.m. Chilly air surrounds, and his layers of clothing and mind were yielding to slow refrigeration. He paced toward the recessed doors of a five-story department store where he always parked for free, and could get some exercise rambling up and down the stairs as bookends to his afternoon engagements.

The first floor has its aging food court, adjacent newly renovated retail footage. Assistants abound. ‘This shampoo is really good,’ is what she says, starting to select it for you. Yogurt, windshield washer fluid, and pasta sauce, out the self-checkout, up to the fourth floor, and down into streets.

Light layers in the crisp air. Normal traffic, that’s fair. A few more weeks of the same suds for his hair, the future and the now milling about up there in his mind, more within reach with each moment he knows how to be happy, to get things done and done well, to let things go, and hold on tight.

He’s comforted on this December night that though right now he types alone, there are others home and we are all small on this ball. We will someday winter, but do our best not to fall. And though we may hit walls, we can scale or discover stairs, exercising our ability to always better our past selves, and at times thicken our skin or pour out our heart, never making a truly new start because we have a priceless coat of all the things we’ve ever done, to add to our warmth, and find haven and restoration before the new day to come.

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