Carapace

Hush. Be quiet. The long summer day is coming to a close, spooling up its lovely light, but there is nothing to fear from the night. There is nothing to fear from the motion of this golden blaze giving way to purple night, or from life giving way to death, for that matter, or from any dark thing. Stand in the shadows under the trees for only a moment, for half a moment, and a dozen fallen things will reveal themselves to you. Last year’s sassafras leaf, clinging still to a bit of its yellow luster, has gone gorgeous in lace,

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and the cicada, dwelling in the dark soil for all those long, long years, has climbed out of its shell and taken to the trees and begun to sing, has become the song of summer of evenings,

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and the sweet gum ball has lost its spiky armor and released its seeds into the generations,

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and the acorn, too, has shed its shell and sent roots into the earth,

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and the dead sycamore at the edge of the quiet lake’s lapping water has taken on light like the embers of some burning fire, leaping into flame as it does every single evening,

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and then the red-winged blackbird, the bright badge on its wing a flare of incandescence in the light at the end of the day, settles there, and sings the nighttime home.

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