To burn real logs, cut from real trees
that lived and died right over the hill,
and sawed to length by a real man
seems such a privilege.
Perhaps it has always been so.
But in another generation, no one
will know. Not here, in our managed
and engineered world.
So I bask in the heat of this fire,
the cat beside me, savoring
its soft warmth, and vowing
to carry this moment, with praise,
September strolled slowly down the sun-dappled path, her perfume trailing behind her in the balmy air.
It was a gentle afternoon, and she listened, one last time, to the songs of the breeze, of leaves cascading to the ground, of grasshoppers and crickets in the field, of the bees buzzing in and out of the asters and the Queen Anne’s lace and the glowing goldenrod’s flowers.
She was looking forward to returning to her home world and to sharing all that she had seen and done with the Seasons Past who gathered there. Even though she had been told to expect unspeakable wonders, her days on Earth had been more beautiful than she ever could have dreamed.
What a privilege it had been, she thought, to walk upon this sacred land, to view life from this amazing perspective. She had learned so much.
As the path turned and opened to the field, she saw the wooded rolling hills beyond, and the trees that lined the creek that meandered through them, and above it all the endless sky and dancing clouds. And she spread wide her arms, as if to embrace it all, and sang, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
When I look through my lens at this beauty, whose eyes are peering through mine?
What leads me to this very vantage point, with the skim ice just so and the hills falling brown into the still water? Why now, in this light, with its blue snow and the faint glow on the horizon?
I didn’t intend to come here. My thoughts were on supper, on curling with the cat in the warm glow of the fire.
But something irresistible said, “Turn here.” And now I stand in pristine snow, breathing air that makes little clouds as it leaves my mouth, gazing at February in the Pennsylvania hills. It feels like a privilege, an honor, a gift somehow.
Despite the cold, I sense the turning of the season toward spring. The maples, lean and bare, even now begin to pull their sweet sap upward. Beneath the icy waters, tadpoles wait to be born.
But right now, the beauty of this winter scene stretches before my eyes and I feel a hunger pour through them devouring it. Our eyes, I think, are not for us alone. Something larger seeks to gaze through them, borrowing them, and in return, lending us some of its joy.