Monday, October 12, 2020


Here in my car by the side of the road,
close to a field of short stubbled corn,
a solitary junco is my entertainment
while I wait in the snow for my tow to arrive.

Surrounded and swayed by a brisk winter wind,
he rides on the lee of a cold cornstalk's stump
busily gleaning whatever is there.
Perhaps a few seeds, or a huddling insect
has drawn his quick eyes and small beak to that place,
to that one small cornstalk amid all the others,
where my human eyes can see nothing of value.

If I had not chosen to drive up this road
and then drifted wide into wheel-deep snow,
I would have not shared his fortunate visit
and he would have eaten his breakfast alone.
But I had come out, a solo explorer,
to view the sweet sight of another new snowfall
smoothly spread out across harvested fields
and to view all the contrasts that winter days offer,
of crystalline fluff upon evergreen boughs,
or of empty bare branches, dressed for the cold,
etching their essence of structural strength
upon this flat canvas of overcast gray.

It's a good place to pause on a Sunday morning
and to meditate here, with my pen in hand,
within this my temple of sky and soft snow.

When I turn to look, my junco has flown.
Unlike me, he is quite unencumbered,
floating so free above my snowy jail,
while scanning the fields for another small meal.

My tow is here.  Securing a hook,
he effortlessly pulls my car back on the road.
I and the junco are free to continue.
It's been a good drive.  Time to go home.

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