category: Poetry

Unexpected Winter

By Rachael Keefe

This is a poem about winter coming early and so much more. May we all be aware of Creation’s yearnings.

Unexpected Winter

The wind sings of winter today
churning the lake into waves 
rivaling ocean tides
while the prairie grasses 
echo with lyrics of snow.

Autumn leaves dance intricate 
patterns across the fallen snow
skittering across the tracks of deer, 
fox, and rabbits who ventured 
out between dark and dawn,
hours before I discovered 
winter’s early arrival.

This mix of seasons surprises me 
with stark beauty
maple trees suddenly dropped their leaves
as if startled by the early snow
russet gowns pooling over their roots.
Golden oak and yellow aspen line my path,
a mosaic tribute to some forgotten god.

The ancient song of wind and wave
create harmonies whistling 
through crisp, autumn grasses and leaves 
still clinging to branches
as if winter won’t take their green 
and scatter them
in the days gathering at the horizon,
like actors waiting in the wings 
for the cue to take center stage.

My noisy steps startle deer and hawk alike
leaving me feeling like I’ve disrupted
some of Creation’s magic,
stumbling into a threshold not meant 
for human witnessing.

Awe awakens within me
as the long-forgotten song of this land
strums a melody through my soul,
begging me to remember
to learn the song of renewal
Creation sings again and again
waiting for humans to learn
the rhythms of life lived
from season to season even
when chaos rushes in and confuses 
what is with what should be,
what could be if we learn
the melodies that only Creation
Early Winter Woods
Wide path in the woods partially covered in snow and fallen autumn leaves. A deer is in the path in the distance. Image courtesy of Rachael Keefe.
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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

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