Come Before Winter

The wind, a hymn in the pines,
Cool from the north, rushing 
then settling--- 
rhythmic like waves on the shore, 
sifting, sanding,

I sit in fragments, 
light careening from above, broken
living in Shadow and Light,
the gift of a new day.

The sun descending.

The days soon will give way 
to darkness, winter. 
Fall comes for a day or so, 
and retreats, hiding in 
one extreme or the other. 

I sit in the place I was planted,
in the slow hum of a world dulled 
in the dust of drought; 
my companions the listless wasps, 
hanging on the brick wall 
hoping the day will warm. 

Later they’ll be knocking around 
up on the ceiling, 
trying to squeeze out 
the last of life 
before the new season creeps in 
and beds down.

“Come before winter.”

I’ve waited in the shadows
Looked here and there
for revelation
like a child running wild 
hunting for the eggs painted golden,

Granddaddies filled with wanderlust 
mock, remind me to be intentional. Stop
looking under rocks, in hollow logs. 
Decay is the home of
the serpent.

Revelations all around,
I miss them in the
spinning and the sifting, 
the compost of days faded 
in the light of summer. 

Fall sidles in, tasting of smoke,
a fire burning deep on
a crisp October morning.

I want to see---really see, 
to hear---really hear 
before the frost comes and
holds the world hostage in
the season that sleeps.

Sleeping keeps me up at night. 

The sassafras is turning. 
Red, orange, golden. 
She’ll drop her pretense soon. 
Her royal robe will 
fall down around her. She’ll be naked 
when winter comes and
leaves the long shadows. 

Winter demands the ultimate surrender.

Sunrise and sunset, 
again and again, 
over and over 
in darkness and day, 
under clouds, and rainbows and starry hosts. 
Again, the mocking bird lights on her branches, 
then a cardinal as red as blood. 

She holds on like she does every year, 
in season and out, in the rhythm of 
surrender and new life, death 
and resurrection. 

Listening to the song, I nod.
I understand, gather myself
in the golden moment. 
Live in the Son 
and hope…

 He comes before winter.


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