New Morning, New Year
It was very cold this morning
As winter mornings ought to be
Just out of bed, and determined to make a good start
I walked east, into the sun, just risen.
The western face of the knoll was still shaded
And as I left the sidewalk for the turf
The crackle of the frozen grass with every step
Was loud enough to startle.
The boggy places at the bottom of the hill
The night had quick-frozen
Leaving the contracted mud in tiny, rigid formations
Like stalagmites or cells of giant mud daubers
Or the walls and pathways of some miniature, primitive village
In the woods there was no wind
And dead leaves and dead branches lay on the ground
Without motion or color
As if life had been permanently defeated.
Deer tracks seemingly fossilized
In the hard, narrow trail
The sign of some long-vanished creature?
But on the eastern slope the hour-old sunlight
Had already done its work
The frost was already burned away
And I walked on the grass
Quiet, soft and green
And the air bore the scent of the thawing earth
And I knew the first faint taste of spring.