I live in a community of weather-watchers.

Before the sun rises and its pale light peers over the trees, they watch. After the barn owl swallows the skin and bones of her midnight meal, they worry. When a trip to town leads to meeting a fellow weather-watcher, they talk. They watch and they worry and they talk about the rain or the heat or the cold. They behave this way because they must plan.

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Four years, four months, twelve days … I know, but I don’t keep count. It’s just one of those motionless mornings when the sun’s not yet shining and thoughts spin until they fall down, tired.

Second grade has been hard on her- making new friends, writing cursive letters, memorizing times-tables. Yet, every Friday she comes home with gold stars and smiley faces on her work. When the morning bell rang on the first day she told her teacher that she wanted to be called Belle.

“Why, honey?”

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