Here was the spring of the crayon box, the home for dreams (with a too-small kitchen and not enough closet space but with a garden where I can practice my hope). We painted the walls in absolutely-not-neutral, totally-joyful hues reminiscent of a kindergarten classroom. We mingled the art. We shuffled the books. We climb into bed with a large cat and a small dog, and the tall man with the long arms takes up the least amount of room somehow.

And here was an autumn of my shadows, a place with flickering light and grotesque scrawlings on water-damaged walls. It was a cold place full of discarded objects that I picked up and scrutinized and carefully tucked into my bag of broken things. Only I could venture into this deep darkness; I called out signals of “Still alive!” when I could and tugged at the thread around my waist with the faith that a bell would ring for someone at the other end.  And I emerged with my collection of disasters and a cultivated gentleness.

Here was a year of deepening and widening, of bearing down and birthing; and here was a year of planting seeds centimeters below the earth and watching victorious tendrils poke through.  What a miracle growth is.