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Most every morning now, Tom found his way outside to the rocker to watch the sun rise. The first piercings of morning amethyst and pink inevitably brought joy, as did the frogs and birds chirping in the distance, chatting the morning news of coming winter. And the old broken chinaberry tree stared at Tom. It had been hit by lightning years earlier but stood still against the backdrop of the oaks and willows stretching down the riverbank.


In the blue fog, the deformed old tree took the shape of a looming giant, a dark presence draped in Spanish moss reaching down as if a dutiful matron tasked to lift the cabin from darkness. And each morning, Tom studied the daily mystery that helped dispel the ugly shape of thought he did not want to know.