Wind bristling, snow spitting,
urging my heels to push small pine cones
crunching icy pine needles in my foot prints.
Owls hoot! Shadows dart! Dead limbs snap!
Moonlight guides the rising bend.
Boot soles slide on unseen ice.
I regain balance.
Rousted squirrels brightly tick eventide.
The remaining light fades from dusk,
I find myself at the forest edge
short of distant village lights.
The wind tears through his over-coat
threads flutter and shred behind him.
Sleet and ice, preceding new-falling snow
quickly glistens the way.
Dim lights flicker
through the tunnel of a covered bridge.
He rode hard and fast on the morning he crossed it.
With anger, pain, and impatient with promises,
he vowed to return without the empty hands
that gripped the reins of his departure.
Wood smoke waffles in scented shifting winds
carrying anticipation awaiting by the wood stove.
Storm steadily blowing in a white-out slant
stretches the flame of his swaying lamp.
Following the tracks that he once made;
never looking back at his worst now,
or, whatever he thought was his best.
Putting my lamp out,
I stamped my feet on the wooden porch floor
and enter the bright warm farmhouse.
In my welcome, I returned from my pockets,
the path I had taken and the good grace
of a dark wooded night.