by Clarice Feldman
My desk overlooks an intersection. Looking out on it, Christmas Eve was gloomy and depressing. No lights, no people, virtually no cars. Just dark and cold and rain. I have no greater expectations for New Year’s Eve.
The morning after I saw a fat grey squirrel racing up the tall holly at the corner of my front lawn, picking up in its mouth huge dried leaves blown there from the sycamore tree, scampering across the gutter on the garage and disappearing from my view. I stepped out to see where the nest was being built, and there it was, a huge house of sycamore leaves in the crotch of an even taller holly tree, high above the house. (Both hollies had long been stripped of berries — first by blue jays, then by robins and chickadees and finally by squirrels. The trees, once covered in red, have not a single berry on them.) The nest builder knows somehow that a cold winter is coming and is preparing to keep her family warm and safe. We will have to do the same.