I remember, as a child, being out on our hill in the middle of winter. Being able to look up and seeing nothing but this vast darkness, speckled by wavering lights. Sometimes, my brother and I would have to throw a stone, to knock out the one light that blocked our view. But thankfully, our aim was more abundant and accurate than my father’s desire to replace the light. The scent was amazing, just this crispness in the air, yet somehow warm, as we laid out on our sleds, panting from running around or holding on for dear life, as the snowmobile pulled and threw us around. There was something that just made things more alive back then, even in the dead of a Central Illinois winter. A sense that you would never see in the middle of summer, even among the honeysuckle and dandelions. Something that even my brother’s sunflower crops couldn’t provide us with, no matter how sun vibrant they were, or the smell of sweet corn from my section of the flower beds. An innocence, that we spend lifetimes trying to grow past, only to seek to regain it as adults.

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