A Poem Written by My Cousin Sara, in Honor of My Mother

[This poem was written by Sara Bray McClain, after the recent funeral of my mother, Mina Jo Marsh, who was her aunt. I am grateful to Sara for writing it, and for giving me permission to post it here. I am also grateful that reading it helped me feel better, in light of recent events.]

I love the change in seasons,
when the night takes on the work
of a world that’s worn of summer,
lying down to rest its head
only when the sunrise lights…

I crave the peace at dawn
of a town whose jobs awaken
making good on the toil that for months
rolled on in the hope of a rich, ripe harvest.

I breathe in the crisp fall air
along with the scent of labor,
the fresh, sweet smell of firewood
and the smoke of my neighbor’s stove;
the birds all abuzz with the knowledge
that winter is coming soon, taking flight to their homes more southern
as we look to the star in the north.

I search for the words to comfort
those who grieve at this time of wonder
who, faced with life’s blessed turning,
can only look behind.

And, strangely, the winds of change
keep afloat my meandering mind,
rustling now through the branches of family
gone before to a winter their own.

My heart isn’t cold or lonely,
though the chill might have touched my skin,
for I know with the break of the first snow
comes the green of the spring just ahead.