A chickadee in the cherry tree
is singing November goodbye.
Surrounded by a feast and the last
autumn flags, beneath a clear, blue sky,
it chirps its little birdie chirps, and
watches the world float by.
It has no cares; it’s glad for life,
for a lovely tree and a day of sun.
And regardless of what the days
may hold, it’s happy for every one.
I forget, when I’m wallowing
in summer’s luscious green,
or in the pastels and fire
of spring and summer, how much
I secretly like the winter’s hues.
I think only of its cold and close
my mind against even one
unnecessary thought of it.
But here I am, knee-eep
in winter’s colors, even though
the calendar says it’s still three weeks
away. And I confess, I love this.
I love its starkness and subtelty.
I love the drama and depth of its moods.
So Yes, bring it on. Cold is a small price
I hadn’t walked here with a dog
in a very long time. But today,
one came along and reminded me
what they know. Immediacy.
That’s it. No labels. None of this
“grass” “leaf” “creek” “tree” stuff.
And forget judgements, about caring
whether it’s hot or cold, hard or soft,
dry or wet. It’s all motion, one
gigantic shifting of ever-delicious
data pouring in through mouth,
eyes, ears, nose, feet, skin, hair.
Every bit of it your favorite.
Every bit of it singing your name.
The park’s lodge is brimming
with row after row of decorated
trees, contributed by businesses
and organizations from all over
the county. It’s the annual
Festival of Trees, a grand kick- off
to the holiday season. My guests
and I walk among them bedazzled
by the ingenuity and beauty on display.
When we leave, the sun is just beginning
to sink behind the hills, and we find
that the park itself is holding a Festival
of its own.
As if a curtain lifted to reveal
a whole new setting for the next act
of the play, the field has transformed
itself. Gone are the gold and crimson hills.
Gone the goldenrod. In their place,
a wonderland stands, with pale, bare
sycamore branches dancing against
dark hills, surrounded by the last russet
of the oaks. And at their feet, acres
of goldenrod, now white and fluffy
as snow, spreads itself as a premonition
of things to come. We walk through
the billowing stalks laughing, and Betsy
says they look like hats that elves
Theirs is a private world, their pond
created by a dam they built themselves,
an entire summer’s work. To find it
you must be willing to fight burr-thick
brambles and the thorns of wild roses.
But it’s worth the search. A lot of life
is like that, don’t you think? The best
rewards require pushing through
the tangles, bearing the thorns.
Having received the offering of thanks
from the hearts of the children of the earth,
the Great Yes returns their gift with blessings
of its own: A clear sky, a waxing moon,
a ballet of trees in the last light of the day.
Be at peace, my precious ones. Know
that all is well and you are known
If I could write my gratitude
on every leaf that ever grew
on every tree that ever lived,
still it wouldn’t be enough
to express the thankfulness
of my heart for the wonder
and beauty of living.
The great bird of winter
flies in from the west,
its dark wings spread
across the sky. On the hills,
the bare trees wait, ready
and eager. Meanwhile,
in homes filled with warm light,
feasts are prepared, families
and friends are gathered,
hearts full of Yes and of
From high in the sky, winter’s blanket
begins its slow descent. Tomorrow
the first wisps of snow will fall.
They won’t stay; they’re just a taste
to tingle the waters and the tips
of the reeds. The earth is ready.
It’s donned its winter pajamas.
The branches of the trees clatter
in anticipation. Soon, soon,
they will feel the delicious kiss of snow.