I’m on the winter trail
plodding forward with aching feet
blinded by sharp sunlight
on endless snow,
alone with my burden.
The lake offers no relief.
Its frozen water mocks my thirst.
Every part of me longs for spring.
I tell myself the lies of the lonely
Imagining that someone, anyone
might slog along with me,
and ease the thick links
of this heavy chain
from my bent shoulders.
By my own reckoning,
my sorrow is so cumbersome,
you will flee from me,
Observed along the country road,
a bed of russet leaves
beneath the drift and spin of autumn
foreshadowed by an ancient Yew,
its needles green as midsummer
Watching the season so keenly,
Studying the daylight shrink,
October dances toward its finale.
I’m counting on the conifers
to foliate the coming days
while cardinals, like crimson gems,
perch, ornamental, on winter’s doorstep
If you sit outside long enough
you notice that the trees change,
the creek of aging wood,
the lichen on gnarled branches
even in death, the trees offer refuge
countless perches within exposed branches
a high vantage point to observe
the neighborhood cats
with their fat bodies and languid eyes
The abundance of my backyard surprises me
the tenacity of growth, as if my tiny plot of land
is on the cusp of being consumed,
swallowed by the encroaching mountainside
with its wild dazzle of swaying pines
and the tangled vines that choke
the hickory and ash
I wonder at the strength of trees,
how the wood wants to reclaim it all
this lawn, this house, this feeble garden
it’s likely to succeed