New Year’s Eve — Looking Back
“There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?”
– Mary Oliver, poet
Cold, but no snow—frost collapsing
the last brown stalks of goldenrod
and cosmos into the ground.
Some mammal has come scratching
at crusted leaves, marbles of black dirt
scattered in a clearing.
We let our faith dwell in small successes—
wood splitting cleanly, potatoes heaped in the cellar,
day breaking once more out of the mountain.
The first tree sparrow arrives in alders
near the river, then comes the snow
like feathers loosed from a white wing. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Looking back over the last 10 years . . . . and here, this the poem written at year-end 2001 while living in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I remember that day, those stalks of frosted goldenrod and cosmos, the marbles of black dirt because the ground was mostly frozen and the earth wouldn’t give way to that secretive, nighttime scavenger.
This I believe: To see whatever is before us, around us, is to love this world-–its strange and lonesome beauty–-to care about a sparse, nameless moment that would otherwise be lost except for that conscious looking.