Finally the snow is receding. Last night there was a pungent odor on the air, like something that had gone a little sour in the fridge. "Do you smell that?" I asked Laurie. "What is it?"
She knew immediately, of course. It was only the earth. The ground beneath our feet was thawing, and releasing the pent up odor of decay from last Autumn, odors that had been frozen under a blank of snow till now. Both of us were smiling at once, because we knew this to be a sign and a message and a promise. Even after all these years, it still comes as a surprise: