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  • Just after sunset
    We walked down the hill

    The northwest wind drove the sea aclattering the length of the shingle beach.
    Sharp edged waves raced across the bay.
    The wind’s rough caress bent the red grasses
    And stirred the ranks of spruce waiting beyond the meadow’s edge.
    Above the dark line of the horizon the clouds glowed
    stained bright red from the sun’s dying light.

    The shadows grew among the trees and dared now to spread forth
    From the margins of the forest, the screech owl
    Challenged the coming night
    The few houses glowed.

    I felt the push of the wind
    Dry and cool
    Whispering of seasons to come

    It’s telling me it’s time
    I know
    In days now I’ll trade away my wild freedom
    Trade the vivid green island summer
    For the bare dry, brown of the high veldt winter

    Set aside tools and dreams
    Pick up responsibility
    Like baggage I checked in
    and now must claim.

    My travelling clothes have hung these few weeks in a corner
    Now I’ll shrug back into jacket and ironed pants
    Button a shirt
    My calluses will wash away
    the scratches on my legs from hauling logs will fade

    Somewhere on the way I’ll trade the fierce concentration and open smile
    for a staid professional demeanor
    A matter of shifting from git r’ done to getting along.

    Last night we watched the sunset and Cory said
    I love it when she’s all the way over to the harbor
    So far north now
    And don’t I hate to see her move all the way around
    until she sets off the end of Little Gotts
    You know what I mean Ben

    And yes, I said, I do
    Everything is possible now
    With the days so long
    And the sun as far north as she’ll go

    Ain’t it just, he said
    Did you hear what Ben said Barb, he hollered
    And then he brought out a Mason jar of moonshine
    That’s what the label said
    Moonshine with a cinnamon stick

    Try some of that Ben, he said
    And I poured a glass and drank
    Spice and sweet and a burn at the back of my throat
    and I thought
    oh summer, this short and fleeting season
    oh summer

    because the wind has shifted around to the northwest now
    and it’s telling all the world it’s time for me to go
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