The Seasons of the Sun

Spring dropped white Bradford pear petals
like slow snowflakes on either side
of Main Street—
a gently confettied parade marking
the clover-drone of the bee, moon
light jacket nights, lengthening days,
and fire of wild-lilting forsythia sprays.

Early June gusted the earth-salty scent
of a storm’s first, heavy drops of rain,
which stirred themselves into
a sweet blanket of magnolia air, and
our summer tasted like floral sugar cookies
that melted on our tongues
like traces of silver dew in mid-morning sun.

Late October offered the brown incense
of its intoxicating leaf decay,
and every mountainside waved its playful
yellows, and held close its
passionate crimsons,

as if the seasons of the sun
had been merely a moment of
forgetting to wrap our fragile souls
in thick, soft sweaters,

for now, the greedy, growing night
catches us up in its cold, black elegy
for the loss of all things warm and green.

By Martha Owens

sun glows through winter season trees

Martha Owens lives in western North Carolina and teaches British literature at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. Her poems have appeared in North Carolina Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Pembroke Magazine, Lyricist, and Gray’s Sporting Journal.

Photo by fikmik

The Doe

The waxing moon had spread
the chilly black sky with
a blanket of diaphanous, white
snow-shadow, when

a doe paced slowly toward the woods’ edge,
her quick-quivering stateliness
sending a shiver through the cool night.

Almost motionlessly, she leapt
into a wet crash of green,
her hind hooves kicking at the
fragrant, fast-sparkling pine-shower,

and when the needled boughs stopped nodding
at the stunned, hoof-crushed grasses, the
the softly lit, lung-tickling air
smelled something like peace hovering
on the razor edge of a cold knife.

By Martha Owens

doe by the forest on a snowy evening

Martha Owens lives in western North Carolina and teaches British literature at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. Her poems have appeared in North Carolina Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Pembroke Magazine, Lyricist, and Gray’s Sporting Journal.

Photo by tspider

Roses in the Fall

Don’t they know
that ice is on the way?
A distinct chill has hung
in the air like an azure
curtain all week long,
now they have bloomed,
petals that hopefully have
the fortitude to outlast blasts
of frigid air, responding
to the world with an
admirable tenacity.

By JD DeHart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared in Gargouille and The Other Herald, among other publications. DeHart blogs at JD DeHart – Feature Poems.

The Sound of Snow

snow crystals cover pine needlesThere once was the sound of snow. I first heard it at my aunt and uncle’s cabin in the Big Bear mountains, a place our family gathered for winter holidays. The old shake-wood cabin was painted forest green and snuggled against the hill side. A series of stair-steps lead to the front door. There was a wood stove with its smoky heat, a small living-room-kitchen, and the icy-cold outdoor bath tub. Sometimes, rain fell all day, but by next morning, a white powder covered the trees, the forest floor, and the cabin roof. Long, pointy-tipped ice-cycles hung from the eves.

I knew the snow would come. I heard it in the pitter of rain on the tin roof, how the sound would quiet to a whisper, then silence. The snow absorbed sounds. It turned down the volume of the world outside; it lowered the volume of the thoughts in my head to heartbeat and breath.

Years later, while backpacking in the Trinity Alps, I heard the sound of snow. It softened the sound of the rushing waters at Deer Creek into a gentle, bubbling babble. Instead of the icy crunch under foot, there was a slippery-slosh as my boots sank into wet snow. Blacktailed deer, and even Black Bear, remained active in the winter’s snow, but their sounds were smaller. The snow covered the branches and the leaves of the forest floor. No longer was there the snap of a branch or the rustle of leaves as the animals walked on their forage for food in the snow-globe-world of white.

Living off-grid in the Tahoe National Forest, large snow flakes fell throughout the night. In the morning, our trucks disappeared, hidden under heaps of snow. The snow circled our cabin, tucked it in tightly, like a child swaddled in blankets. My husband and I were cocooned inside where the wood stove hissed and popped, while the tea kettle whistled. Outside, the snow stacked higher.
snowy ranch see from homw window

When we lived in the Modoc Mountains, the snow didn’t fall from the sky; instead, it blew with a horizontal wind from the north or the south. Snow covered windows in delicate crystals. It threw piles of whiteness in front of the doors. The sound of snow was wailing wind, and when the wind calmed and the snow settled, there was the swoosh of the snow shovel, the thunderous crash of snow as it slid off the roof, and the sputter of the tractor as my husband plowed to uncover our long, gravel driveway.

But, the snow stopped. From the north in Modoc to Big Bear in the south, the snow fell in inches instead of feet, and the pitter patter of warm rain melted the tiny layer of snow to a thin slush. Hope came as a new winter storm was promised, but there was only timid rain. There was no snow pack to seep slowly into the earth to feed the forest. No snowpack to release its waters down into the dry, thirsty valleys in the hot summer months. Millions of trees died, and reservoirs were cracked-dry earth. Each winter night, I listened for snow, waited for the silence that did not come.

That was before the world turned upside down, and the river appeared in the sky. There was a thunderous noise as the rains poured down upon the earth. The water filled the thirsty lakes and stream beds. The water overflowed the river banks, spread mud and debris across the roads, punched huge holes into the asphalt. At home, in the Sierra Foothills, the water crept through the floors, filled the laundry room inches deep. The garden ditches were raging creeks. The news said, “Only travel in an emergency.” We were trapped inside, as trees fell in the wind, and the electricity stopped. A new quiet came. The hum of the refrigerator ceased, the ceiling fan stopped it’s whirl. Outside, the storm continued, but inside, the quiet was profound.early morning light on snowy ranch

And this morning, after five years of waiting, I woke to the silence of snow. From my window, I watched it fall softly from the grey sky. Snow sprinkled the tree tops, covered my truck, turned the cabin roof white. I opened the front door, inhaled deeply, let the moist air fill my lungs.

Kandi MaxwellKandi Maxwell lives and writes in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. She walks through forests, soaks and splashes in rivers, lakes and hot springs, and bends frequently in downward dog. She is a retired high school English teacher. Her work has been published in Fair Haven Literary Review, KYSO Flash, The Raven’s Perch, One in Four, Foliate Oak, and others. Her work has been nominated for The Best American Essay series.

Photos by the author.

A Rehearsal of Wind

A December sky
left ducks to shiver
and take refuge
in the swamp grass
of September.
I walked backwards
on my journey
around the lake today,
feeling my sojourn
was one of rewind.

No amount of huddling
could bring summer back.
As a child of warmth,
I could not return to August sun.
It had faded into hiding,
where worms measure daylight
by the segment.

By Harding Stedler

ducks sheltering in grass on a winter pond

After graduating valedictorian of his high school graduating class, Harding Stedler went on to earn his B.S. in Ed., M.S in English Education, and his Ph.D. in English Education as well. He taught writing courses under the umbrella of the English Department in universities where he taught. In 1995, he retired from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, with 34 years of service. He now makes his home in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is an active member of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas as well as the River Market Poets in Little Rock.

Photo by Ben Thomasian