“Forever, forever,” her message,
clearwater spring on Winter’s first day.
Not much light on December twenty-first.
Just the cold, cold quiet of Earth herself,
the illusion of faraway distant Sun,
a long, slow creep back to warmth.
Like a cave, a burrow, is the Winter solstice.
The water almost a paradox,
the bright gurgle like warm brown toes in summer.
This water bears ice,
a layered armor for crawfish and trout,
a dare for the shoes of mittened children.
But the singing call of the spring is not summer’s giggle,
as though only ice makes clear her deeper meaning.
“Forever, forever,” gives she her power,
her presence, her patience, her sustenance, her steadfastness,
right next to cold death, like a mittened hand,
ready for us all.
December 24, 2001