The Days Grow Short -

The Days Grow Short -

The days grow short. The wind whips across barren fields freshly shorn from their

autumn harvest, and Midwesterners bemoan our geography as though we were the

proverbial Job crying out to the heavens, pleading with passing airplanes as to why

we have been forsaken and must bear to suffer this living hell of rolling hills and

ravines, river bluffs and open prairies.

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Winter is arrived.

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A casual observer can spot squirrels and chipmunks preparing months in advance

for the withdrawn, grey months to come, yet when it arrives we shutter ourselves

indoors save for the obligation of holiday shopping. The trails, both paved and wild,

are emptied, parks are forgotten, and roads and sidewalks, affected by temperate

extremes, are left to slowly, inevitably buckle and crack.

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To the winter shut-ins whose excuses grow like summer weeds, for those who think

that adventure is regional, and to any who are convinced that plate tectonics have

left their lands behind, you conclude that your life and those of your ancestors

before you have conspired to lead you to still and stagnant waters:

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Stay home.

kent-skeleton.jpg

Let your bones grow brittle and weak, your muscles atrophy as your gut bloats and

your skin pales. As the last leaf falls, convince yourself there are no memories to be

made until spring buds sprout fresh when your body has forgotten any of last year’s

work and you are weak and soft, a shadow of the self you once promised. Your

presence only crowds the playgrounds and your negative energies would breathe

poisons into the air.

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Stay home.

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I see the buffet of winter adventures to be had, consider both of our place

settings—yours which you’ve unceremoniously pushed away-- and after starting on

my own, say, “I’ll have yours as well.” I want the fresh snow, frozen mud, and

untrodden rubble under my running shoes, careening through the woods, trading a

bit of sure-footedness for a taste of wildness and to forcibly shake away the days’

worth of seasonal depression. These are days that must be won. Like plaque and

tartar build-up must be ceremoniously scrapped away from one’s teeth, so to must

slumber and apathy be shaken and shed from my bones.

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You do yourself a disservice to think that this place, this time of year is a time of

waiting.

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This land is not fallow. It breathes and grows even as the cold trees pop, creak, and

groan. The prairies, farmland, and forest will be of wonder whether any of us are

there or not. Why not be a witness? Why not earn a holiday meal or learn how good

a warm cup of tea can really taste? Why not run a cross country race on a farm in a

sleepy town where the wind races from across the unending horizon to chill the

blood still in your veins as you emerge from a thigh-deep creek crossing, baptized

anew? Be as changed as the seasons.

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- - Kent is one of the many creatures hidden behind the walls within Bushwhacker.  He scampers about with his trusty 4oz Elmers Glue bottle trying to piece together this stick toothpick operation we call home. When he ventures out from his cave of boxes, computers, and scattered remnants of many vegan friendly lunch pails, you'll be greeted with flowing locks, long legs, and a soul-searching stare that will make you wish you had ran this year's Furrow-Euro along side such a man among men.