Yesterday in the mist, I cleared the old dead geraniums from the barrels behind the house, as well as the skeletal fried marigolds, and the beard-straggly impatiens that bloomed so well. And when I say “dead,” of course I do not mean dead. I simply mean that the green and flowering spirit has gone out of them, and that their roots and stems have surrendered to a miraculous sleep. It is the long-dreaming time when winter, once again, is more than a word, and one considers the plight of statues frozen in the park. You see them waiting for children who do not come. You wonder how they are getting along. To the first one you meet, you give your scarf; to the rest, your heart. At the bottom of your coat pocket, there is a stray button. You think of your mother’s bag of buttons, still in her dresser drawer. You walk down the hall. In the back room, you notice once again that the window is open, ever so slightly. You did not open it. You never do. And yet you find that someone has, some visitor, perhaps, or someone who has never quite needed to leave. What about that? And why aren’t you alarmed? What is it that you know, but don’t quite realize, or that you realize, but don’t quite know? That the flowering spirit, perhaps, is alive and well, after all?