Every year, as spring unfolds and summer burns away, and quiet autumn fades, I forget how deep the dark of a moonless December night can be, here at the forest's edge, especially when thin, lingering clouds obscure all but the few brightest stars. Every year, I forget how intense is the presence of silence on an icy night after a storm has passed. Every year, I forget how bone-deep the cold of a damp December night can be. Every year, I forget how the un-evaporated raindrops that cling to blades of grass all night can sparkle when caught in my flashlight beam, and then be lost again to the enveloping darkness. Every year, I forget how dark December nights make me imagine that this must be what it's like to lie at the edge of death, intensely aware of every slight stir and breath, and of the vast darkness of looming space filled with unseen dust. Now I remember.