Wednesday, November 29, 2023

“On the Banks of Spring Creek”

Poem of the Day, Wednesday, November 29, 2023

“On the Banks of Spring Creek”

Just before dusk, I trudge slowly
in late fall snow through Hunting’s 
patch of trees, careful where I step,
not wanting to flush any animals.
The brush is thick on both sides
of the meager trail, heading to Spring Creek.

I approach the creek quietly,
find a secluded spot beneath
a large cottonwood where the snow
has not bothered to find shelter. 
My warm breath spews mist 
into the air until it dissipates
into the cold air while I sit and wait
for darkness to engulf me.

Just to my right, mallards paddle,
quacking while other friends flush in
and land gingerly on the water
with a mere splash and the finesse of dancers,
close their wings, their beaks nudging
their feathers in place along their sleek bodies.

From my hiding place, I see the creek’s banks
covered in snow and ice with slim rays
of the setting sun in the west laying down
oranges on whites up and down the creek.
Above, sparrows flit here and there.

Not far up the bank, a cock pheasant drums,
spooking a rabbit just in back of me.
I sit for a while, listening to the sounds
of dusk closing in on the creek
and the gurgle of the water as it moseys
between the cold snow-covered banks
to the meandering Snake River.

Honking just above me, Canadian geese fly
rather low searching for a safe place
to land for the night, away from watchful eyes
and a wheat field with extraneous kernels
of grain lying just below the surface
of the snow ready to be scooped up for dinner.

I peek out for a moment,
see a muskrat gliding through
black water near the far bank, a speck
of sunset guiding her way downstream.

As the sun sets, the noises become
more distinct and musical, serenading
the night to come, opening the curtain
of night as they renew their compositions
of melodic harmonies with others
throughout the serenity of darkness
until the sun arrives again tomorrow.

When it is dark, I rise from my spot
under the tree, stare across the way
and turn back into the bushes and trees.

Only then do I shine my flashlight
along the trail out of sight
and sound of the ongoing choir
on the banks of Spring Creek.

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