I went out walking yesterday –
new crampons on my feet.
The well-timed gift gave me a way
to grip ground slicked with sleet.
A sheet of ice two inches thick
had blanketed December.
It was a trial, a Christmas trick
we all will long remember.
I tramp out back into the field
three dogs slip-sliding near me;
they splay their toes on ice congealed
but cannot anchor, clearly.
In spite of all our trouble, though,
I cannot help but see –
the ice-encrusted world of snow
is also heavenly.
The open stretches and the hills
are shiny like meringue;
I breathe in deep, my cold nose fills
with scent of wood smoke’s tang.
Each filament of twig and grass,
adorned with icy sleeve,
is capped with snow and gleams like glass
all bound in fragile weave.
But many suffer, well I know,
beneath this armored shell.
This heaven fantasy of snow?
For some, a scene from hell.
“We have no power,” many say,
and heat is necessary.
The roads are slick, limbs block our way
and even walking’s scary.
“We’re in the dark,” “Mom took a fall;”
“An accident’s reported.”
“We planted trees and lost them all;”
“Our generator shorted.”
But still I cannot help but see
when walking in my field,
that nature’s frozen fantasy
is like a gift revealed.
The beauty takes my breath away
and I must pause and stare,
as sparkling diamond tree boughs sway
and crackle in the air.
How do we reconcile these two
At once, two different points of view
demand our brain’s attentions.
It strikes me that this icy strife
is like a mock rendition
of every aspect of our life’s
A New Year starts for us today;
it’s time to look ahead,
and we can choose the hopeful way
or cloak our minds with dread.
Our government’s embattled state
will muddle on as ever,
and global wars may not abate
despite our best endeavor.
We’ll fight against injustice
with our webs of information,
and refuse to let grief bust us
even faced with desolation.
Our little globe is fraught with icy,
but even when life’s dicey –
its magnificence remains.
The glory and the burdens all
inhabit us together.
We must decide that we’ll install
equipment for all weather.
As we go forth, as this New Year
reveals its rising dawn,
see beauty when it does appear,
and keep your crampons on.
Robin Clifford Wood wishes all readers a very happy holiday. She welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.