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2022-02-21 - 11:33 a.m.

If nothing else, spring'll come. You can hold the countdown in your head now, in your hand. Not months, and not days, but in between: weeks. The little dwarf cherry out back, after bathing in the sun, will pop into deep purples and, eventually, soft greens. You know it's coming, like a warm movie you've seen many times, but, still. It's a little shock.

But, for now, what's a solace is that on nights when the wind blows cold in the high, clear nights, you can see a couple stars, one of which, the little box on my phone tells me, is called Capella. It's the sixth-brightest star from earth, the third-brightest from the northern hemisphere. It's actually four stars: two huge bright ones and two hangers-on. One thing I figured out with star names is that if it's got a proper name, usually something Greek or Latin, it means that star is very bright, very obvious, which means we've been watching it for a long, long time. They've all got different names, of course, in Arabic, Chinese, and in bunches of languages no one speaks anymore.

We've been hanging names on these things for a long time, hanging hopes on them, watching them through the cold winds that never stay cold for too long. Not too, too long. The astronomers tell us these Capellas change, too, and though we can't see it, we believe them, we suppose. We take some convincing, on these nights when it seems like the ice will never run off, when the cherry trees show no sign of waking up.

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