The nights have gone cool, the days not as warm. Sundown slips backward,
Dawn awakes later, shivering …by minutes, Does it think we don’t notice?
The summer has been rainy, more than usual, “Can’t complain, wouldn’t do no good,” my neighbor says. We squint up at the sky –as if a moment of somber nods would make a difference– Shake our heads wisely but think the same thing: Another year has almost gone, hasn’t it?
Regrets chitter, time races faster. We don’t dwell on it, or talk about it, but it’s in the backs of our minds.
We mark it most when the hours of darkness lengthen, When the nights are cool. When the sun rises behind stubborn clouds and Fog blooms between trees, sits in the valleys, Blankets the highways with obscurity.
We know what’s coming, near and far. It connects us For a moment, then it’s gone, lost in thoughts of Winter’s chores, and sins unconfessed
And the sweet, sweet days that slip through Our fingers like the strings of a child’s balloon, We cherish it, even as it floats away.
Everything changes. Everything must pass.There is deep contentment in that, if we take it.
It was just after dawn, at the edge of the woods. I stood in the hazy boundary light, breathing in the musk of damp leaves and Pine needles, listened to critters scurrying through The careless litter of oak and maple and locust and walnut trees, Feeling the big pause.
The forest felt it too, and lay hushed in the mist. The fog came last night on its little cat feet, Conjured up from the ground and the air. I hesitated, taking in every detail.
This moment, this place, the path ahead, hidden, but inviting, The textures of the rough bark on the railings, the lichen and moss On the trunks, spots of green and brown and grey and muted reds and yellows.
A great feeling welled up and tears Ran down my cheeks unnoticed, unchecked. I was one with the moment, joyful and melancholy, One with the world, on the edge of the wood filled with mist and mystery, Like any path. Any of thousands I’ve traveled. With something new up ahead.
What was is ending, as always. Every ending is a beginning.
The place from which we start anew.
The rough bark of the railing scrapes my palm, Grounds me in the Now,
I step onto the path, leaves crunching quietly. “Where does the path lead this time,” I ask…the trees, I guess?
They don’t speak, but a thought whispers through the mist:
OCTOBER 2016 / JULY 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
“Hemmingplay,” is the pen name of Doug Stanfield, who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio, went with his parents for two years in Karachi, Pakistan, in high school and had lived, until recently, in Bellefonte, PA with his late wife, Wilda and their two sons, Ben and John. Doug was a writer, editor and director of internet communications at Penn State for 26 years. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including newspaper reporter and editor, and public relations flak, but is trying to make amends for his sins by writing poetry and fiction. When his sons were safely off making their own mistakes, he turned on the computer one day, stared at the screen for what seemed a long time, and began to learn the craft anew at age 67. Doug has published three books so far: "Mermaid Sisters: First Dive", a children's book on iTunes/iBook; "I Came From A Place of Fireflies" published as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and a new book of poetry, "Snowflakes & Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary”, available as both an ebook and as a paperback. (Gatekeeper Press) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and a few others.)
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