I love it when something new happens between us. Like today, our conversation flitted from American Indian sweat lodge ceremonies, to the needful beauty of spiritual reaffirmation, and the subject somehow chanced upon your godmother, who we’ve decided will be our fairy benefactor, then it naturally segued to your childhood baptism, and from there to your desire to experience the spiritual rebirth of an adult wade in the water. It’s a recovery moment, and I realized I forget sometimes how close you still are to the fires of addiction-its been years, not decades, since you were last drunk and oblivious to the steep climb lurking just up ahead-and how these simple things; AA meetings, peer counseling, the occasional Sunday prison chapel, the redemptive aspect of your early jail time-out. These are still extremely important to you, and the journey back has only just begun. I asked you to tell me about baptism, what it means to you, although I already knew the answer. Rebirth.

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The second ah-hah moment came yesterday-and there are so, so many to choose from-when you told me about the Canadian geese who perform regular low-altitude flyovers over the prison yard. The winged aerialists never land; they skim the prison yard’s old-growth treetops in that classic picture postcard, V-formation, heading south one day, north the next, until the frost arrives and they’re gone for another winter. You wondered why they fly so low, buzz the compound without stopping, and then quickly answered your own question, positing a cosmological theory: Framingham is a house of women. There is something about repressed fertility, pain and rage, all those child-yearning mothers, all that madly moon-cycling estrogen packed into such tight quarters that draws like a mystic beacon the avian empaths. My inner Virgo, the ubiquitous analyst was going to say that perhaps there was a pond nearby, a waterhole to rest and regroup, but your take was so profoundly more interesting and uniquely yours. That the geese are God’s little Post-it note, a reminder that there is, will always be, life beyond the razor wire.

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