toward winter




Lord, as Rilke says, the year bears down toward winter, past
the purification of the trees, the darkened brook.
Only 4:45, and the sky’s sheer black
clasps two clear planets and a skinny moon
as we drive quietly home from the airport,
the last kid gone.

The time of preparation’s over, the time of
harvesting the seed, the husk, the kernel, saving
what can be saved – weaves of sun like
rags of old flannel, provident peach stones,
pies, pickles, berry wines to
hold the sweetness for a few more months.

Now the mountains will settle into their old
cold habits, now the white
birch bones will rise
like all those thoughts we’ve tried to repress:
madness of the solstice, phosphorescent
logic that rules the fifteen-hour night!

Our children, gorged, encouraged, have taken off
in tiny shuddering planes. Plump with stuffing,
we too hurry away, holding hands, holding on.
Soon it’ll be January, soon snow will
shuffle down, cold feathers, swathing us in
inches of white silence –

and the ways of the ice
will be narrow, delicate.
~ Sandra M. Gilbert

9 thoughts on “toward winter

  1. Lovely images with a real taste of autumn and the winter to come. The words grace them beautifully. Wishing a click might have brought up a slideshow… ❤

  2. Such a beautiful, telling collage. The photo’s do lead us into winter…Long, cold and white. I do like the white though, but not a lot please. Perfect essay for the leading into winter…wonderful job here Susan…actually, outstanding.

  3. You have captured the atmosphere of this time of the year and it feels so peaceful – walking in the woods, collecting logs for the fire and enjoying our snug homes for this tranquil time of the year when we look upon the season with quiet happiness.

  4. What a beautiful set of photographs…yes, winter is here…long dark nights and cold days. You have captured this so well.

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