In December the sun rises through a copse of trees I can see through my front windows where I sit for morning prayer. Eleven months of the year I see the day dawn only indirectly, as the sun appears nearer due east or northward behind houses or thick pines, or not at all, in the height of summer when the sun is up long before I am. But at the failing of the year the trees stand bare and thin, invisible in the night until the sky lightens behind them, pale at first then golden, the silhouetted branches growing imperceptibly starker until they stretch strong and firm to greet the day. In their naked frailty, unable to block the light, they let it shine through and are strengthened by it. At the failing of the year the dawn is framed for me thus by my window, a promise: The light will ever return, if only we let it.