December is a difficult month.
The bright, clean snows blanketing much of the country, are absent in southern Ohio, where clouded skies bring us, instead, rain.
And, for months, only shades of gray hang above the brown fields.
I work hard to keep an attitude of cheer, especially with Christmas just days away. But even I find it hard to keep joy in such gloom.
Beyond my window, Goldfinches, now in their olive drab, nestle close to the trunk of our Hawthorn—a cluster of vines wrapped densely about it, their shelter from a fast and furious rain.
Much, indeed, most of what I love has gone.
Against the white sky, the dark shapes of bare branches reveal empty nests where the colorful birds, in reds and yellows and blues, were once hidden behind summer’s green.
The surface of the pond has become quiet and still.
And even the milkweed patch, once teeming with every winged or walking insect, stands dry and withered—its few remaining seeds, waiting for the next breeze.
It would seem that with the end of the year, has come the end of it all.
Across the field, beneath tumbling clouds pushed by a strong wind, I went to the vernal pool—where, last spring, Spotted salamanders gathered to dance beneath its cool water on a dark, moonless night.
And wood frogs sang the first notes of spring’s great chorus.
Sending the next generation out, from water to woods, the last days of summer dried it, and, as it should, left it empty and waiting.
For four months I have waited, too, as brown grasses and faded leaves have filled the dry basin.
Wondering when water would return.
And the pools, again, start their cycle.
In this time of so many endings, today, it has happened.
The first drops of cool water, left standing, still clearly there.
Now beginning, even as all else ends.