On the porch beneath a clabbered sky
I watch the day turn gold and slip away,
while gray squirrels rustle through leaves
browning beneath the big hackberry, and
chilled air carries a hint of woodsmoke.
Somewhere well upstream, geese are
honking on the wing, sharp yelps
marking their homeward passage
through twilight's steady gathering.
Another unveiled autumn plays out
as we rest in mild circadian confusion,
in our affected silence—that November
will run its course and winter waits ahead.
Doesn't winter always wait ahead?
Isn't the still season of ice and cold and
keening wind always where years take us?
Is that why we make the time during
autumn's summation to gather 'round
a familiar table, bow our heads, and
declare our thanks before having our feast?
Do we celebrate in gratitude or prudence,
mindful that our lot is good, yet uneasy
we might have claimed too much credit
for the cornucopia we're about to enjoy?
The river is the color of old pewter in
the waning light, divided into many
small channels—a shredded ribbon,
whispering as it finds it way between stones.
Such beauty. And there, in the quiet eventide,
with a full moon rising to light the night,
I recount my blessings before the holy stars—
and pray I might always keep a thankful heart.