Sep 25

Dreaming Town

Nestled and nurtured in the rolling, safeguarding valleys of some otherworld,
a quiet town,
known by few,
braces for the approaching cold.
In preparation, Eos dusts the morning pastures with frost,
and the maple drinks the final sun,
making room for other colors to
dance across the boughs and the mountainside.
The inhabitants of this town may fly away for a while,
or thicken their pelts,
or bundle in flannel by dawn and eve, nourished by an intimate treat;
and no, it is not possible to have too much apple cider.  

Some may say that they have heard this all before,
that my Small Town, U.S.A
is no different from theirs.
Admittedly, parallels do exist.
But critics are often egocentric,
using scrutiny to reaffirm
their complacent agendas.
When one lives here
or grows here,
cradled by green giants,
no place could be quite the same.

The cold awakens the town
in those silent moments before
the clamor of snowplows, making
the disgruntled commuters
rise for the January day.
Pink ears, runny noses,
and feet calloused from hockey skates
barge into wood-heated homes,
seeking cocoa or sugar-on-ice,
whichever is discovered first.

Much later, this town will again see warmth.
The ground will become soft and malleable,
a preferred source of mischief
for squealing younger siblings and fluffy-eared
golden retrievers.                                        
Sometimes, when the butterflies and blossoms
have returned to my town,
a final April nor’easter will
squander the fun
of the children reared by
autumns of fire and playful mud.

Beneath a steeple, they say, one can find God,
but I have found Him beneath the pines.
I have found Him in the long miles
of woodland runs,
in the harvest of humble farm-stands,
and in the stars above a family
Gazing upwards
in search of celestial treasure.

By the banks
of a spring-swollen,
silver-watered stream,
an ancient song, barely audible,
whistles through the reeds.
The lyrics of this song have long been forgotten:
its melody now indecipherable,
its composer victim to time.

But when I turn around in the lift chair
the cold stinging my flesh,
when the October breeze guides
the final leaves to a sleeping Earth
and a dreaming town,

I can still hear it.