Baba Yaga and the New Year

  When the wind blows gently through the trees, and the air smells almost sweet, that is when the burden shifts in beating hearts; it becomes almost impossible to bear. This is when a tingle moves through any living creature, and all of them, they know.  

    They know she is coming.

    She comes swooping, but in silence. Soft, but biting. And when she strikes, all stop in her wake. For how could anything move against such a being? How could anyone move at all? For they fear her. All living creatures fear her. For it seems that where she visits, there is sorrow and pain and fear. 
    But that is not so. No, it is only a fault of poor causality. 
    She is not cruel.
    She ambles, but not slowly. She swaggers, but not carefully. She starts small and hunched, but carries a full burden. It is a burden she is ready to shed lightly. Just as lightly, she will carry away with her what she needs. Crone-like, but not a single fragile bone, she cannot stop her work until the time comes for her rest.  
    But that is dependent on those dependent on her. And only when they have done with their crying.
    She stoops, and the weight of the world shifts on her back, tilting her slightly to one side. It is just light enough for her bent and crooked back. And though she is weather worn, every step she takes removes a line, a crease, from her face as she advances. She is plunging.  
    There is no doubt of where she must go, for she carries the sorrow, the fear, the pain. She carries, but does not disperse. It sinks into her. After all, such things must go somewhere. 
    And she can take it, this old woman. 
    She has power, that is certain—one only has to look at her, if one is so lucky, to know this to be true. But she has a gentle touch, that drops softness onto all creatures that look up at her in awe, startled and too confused to recognize the gift.  
    Her body grows, swells, and it seems as if her burden grows smaller. But that is not so. She is growing larger. Eating ailing thoughts and deepest aches.
   That is how she leaves all in her wake. Fresh and clean. A rebirth—that is what she has to give. Her gift when the world is at its darkest is to eat its heartache. When she has eaten all she can, she is grown and is gone. Leaving behind hearts that beat with nothing more than memories. And that is enough to start again.

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