Walking down to the hay barn
in the late light of ending day,
I see soft streaks of color,
strokes of lavender and pink
left above the sinking sun,
burnished on the edges of fading clouds.
A few degrees above the horizon,
a single narrow slice of bright
glows in the open seam
between the bands of day and night.
I break open a bale of timothy and brome,
stash chunks behind the slats of the feeder
while the mare sniffs the ground
for some stray snatch of sweeter hay.
This baled grass will last a whole day
but the same weight of alfalfa
would be gone
in half that time.
I fasten the chains to the gates,
fill the water trough
and walk past the darkening sky
back toward the house.
It is a blessing, pure and simple,
when the doing of duty
leads us into
such scenes of beauty.