Acorns and dry leaves litter the ground under the live oak.
The wildlife comes to forage: deer, squirrels, turkeys, towhee.
In high foliage, jays and crows argue raucously.
The sun sets early, its last rays light the supper table.
Dark settles, the air grows cold, outdoors all is quiet.
Hour earlier, we turn on the lamp above the table
And we sit quietly in companionable silence.
I arise, reluctant, a half hour late, but before dawn,
Walking along the dark street, the early wildlife greets me:
A two-pronged buck stands its ground, watching,
More worrisome, to a white and black skunk I give wide berth.
Songbirds awaken with soft musical morning greetings.
Golden Autumn, last bright colors, has fled,
Cold white gray Winter enters in its stead.
November, month of cold, of just to be
A time to be inside, a cat on lap,
A dog on rug taking its morning nap
A buttered muffin, a hot cup of tea.
Outside, the drying leaves fall from the trees.
The squirrels scramble for acorns below.
While in the sky, chilly winds now blow,
Carrying the song of the migrating geese.
Now come, we pray, the long awaited rain
That brings the dried-up creek to overflow
And soaks deep into the parched thirsty soil.
We sit in the early twilight again,
Quietly talk and sip cocoa, as though
We had no more chores, no duties, no toil.
Black sky, white starplanet
Moon has not yet risen.
Beavers forage along the creek,
Bats flutter by, snapping up insects
By the hundreds. Why do we feel
Fear rather than gratitude?
Red-tailed hawk dives, rises again
Juicy gopher in its talons.
White line ungulates before me-
Skunk meanders across the path.
A human couple strolls by, they
Nod their heads in silent greeting.
I turn back toward home:
My warm lit shelter.
Watch the news and see
People huddled around
A meager fire, spooning
A small cup of soup,
Their bombed apartment
In shambles behind.
In desert land, sand,
No green to be seen,
Children suckle at
Mothers offer their souls,
Nothing else is left.
Soldiers, men young and old,
Huddle in foxholes,
Bravery laced with fear,
Dream and long for home.
Homeless sleep under
Cardboard box shelter,
Resigned to the cold
Hard pavement sidewalk.
Then turn off the TV
To gather and eat
Give thanks for the bounty,
Feel guilt for the meal
That would feed a village,
But also gratitude
For having plenty,
For family and friends,
Untouched by cruel war,
For peace and safety,
Hopefully to last.
And then vow to give
Next you are bidden.