All Four Seasons.

Green leaves are bud­ding from the trees lin­ing the city streets. The branches sway from the weight of small birds, their throats full of song. The chill in the morn­ing air melts away as the Spring sun warms the ground, beck­on­ing the flow­ers to push through the damp earth. Pedes­tri­ans carry their umbrel­las and weave around the pud­dles on the sidewalk.

Some of them do not see the soiled sneak­ers pok­ing out from under the bun­dle of blan­kets heaped in the shop door­way. Some peo­ple cast a side­ways glance and say noth­ing. They have places to go.

Peo­ple turn the cal­en­dar pages and begin to wear white again as Sum­mer breezes into the city. The air is thick with mois­ture and the asphalt radi­ates the heat of the sun. When shop doors open and the cool con­di­tioned air whooshes out­side, peo­ple wear­ing strappy san­dals, twill shorts, and thin tank tops sigh with relief. Fire­works light up the sky, peo­ple have pic­nics in the park, and the kids catch fire­flies at night.

The bun­dles of blan­kets have moved under­neath the bridges and along the banks of the river. The shop own­ers, tak­ing advan­tage of the longer hours of the sea­son, throw away the flat­tened card­board boxes they find near their door­ways. These are entry­ways, not plat­forms for beds.

The arc of the sun short­ens and fog begins to drift into the city. The once ver­dant trees now don red, orange, and yel­low leaves. The Autumn rain begins to fall. Kids pile into school buses and adults board the train, all day­dream­ing about their sum­mer adventures.

The bun­dle of blan­kets appear down­town again. The blan­kets get wet from the frost in the woods. Rec­tan­gles of card­board, piles of blan­kets, and rolling suit­cases col­lect under the awnings of buildings.

Old man Win­ter hob­bles into town. Freez­ing rain and snow fall from the pewter sky. Peo­ple hurry to the store to stock up on toi­let paper, bread, milk, and canned food. Their breath turns to white mist as they mut­ter about the cold and pre­pare for sev­eral feet of snow. Smoke floats out of chim­neys, read­ers snug­gle with books, and the ket­tles whis­tle when the water boils.

The bun­dles of blan­kets poke out of card­board forts dressed with tarps or garbage bags. The snow is already col­lect­ing on the cor­ru­gated roofs, which sag from the wet weight.

If you see some­one in need dur­ing the storm,” the news­cast­ers say, “if you see some­one who is home­less, call this phone number.”

The home­less are there all the time. They are there all four seasons.