I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to those with knowledge, nor favor to those with skill; but time and chance happen to all.
The leaves are fading fast now, falling in waves and beginning to shower the ground in brown.
The colors are dim this year, I suppose because the rain was limited. The connection between water and color is a mysterious one, an algorithm I cannot fathom, except to say that just enough, at just the right time, is a condition of brilliance.
But one thing I do appreciate about the leafless trees is the revelation of structure. I have long been fascinated by this, drawn to something elemental in the vision. I wonder why each tree happened to grow in that unique and complex way - what combination of water, wind, heredity and happenstance has led to this specific existential architecture.
Are any trees identical? Some like aspen are genetically so, since a grove is often really one tree connected at the root level (root suckering it is called). But even so, each aspen sprout seems slightly different, leans left or right, from or to some unknown attractor.
My favorites are the trees at night, dark grey trunks and branches barely revealed against the deeper sky. On a clear night, the stars shine between the branches, as though the leaves have been reincarnated as celestial bodies.
Maybe that's what winter is for, to drop the veneer and let the heaven show through.
My house is warm. The breeze is soft,
enough keep my hopes aloft,
yet do no harm. Think of all
the children who will never fall
on such soft ground as I have been
so fortunate to, say it, win
in this worldly lottery,
I tell myself. Could I do less
Than offer without reticence
a thought that may to action grow
and say “will you get up and go
And help someone in some small way?
Though who will notice, none can say.
Start there, hopefully.”
To live aboard in winter is not so
Easy. Nothing stems the frigid flow
And cold creeps in from stern to bow
And hail is hell on bright work, as is snow.
Yet here I am, with no place else to go.
Ice has calmed the waves, and I remain
Frozen in this fragile brittle plain,
Afraid to move, or never move again.
The bulkhead groans from the relentless strain
Of closure, of entrapment, in the main.
But still in winter is the yielding sky
That holds more stars than I can wonder why.
Writing For Life
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