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 and becomes almost impossible to bear.  That is when a tingle moves through any living creature, and all of them, they know.  They know that 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 one?  And they fear her.  All fear her, for it seems that where she visits, there sorrow, pain, fear lie.  But that is not so.  A fault of poor causality.  She is not cruel.
            She ambles, but it is not a slow movement.  She swaggers, but it is not careful.  She starts small and hunched, but carries a full burden. She is ready to shed it lightly.  And to 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.  When they have done 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 back.  And though she is weather worn, every step she takes removes a line, a crease, and she advances, plunging.  There is no doubt of where she must go, for she carries sorrow, fear, pain.  Such things must go somewhere.  And she can take it.  She has power, that is certain—one but looks on her, if one is so lucky, and knows this to be true—but she has a gentle touch, that drops softness onto the noses of all the small 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.
            Her coat brushes the earth with every step, leaves all in her wake fresh and clean.  A rebirth—that is the game she plays, for that is all she has to give.  It feeds her.  And when she gives all her gift, she is grown and is gone.  Carrying with her the sorrow and the pain and the fear.  For she has taken these burdens with her, and left behind only beating hearts of memory.  And that is enough to start again.  Almost anew, for all who acknowledge the taking.

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