Just before we reached Meriden
a hole opened toward the west.
A sudden platinum
blazed the pin-feather edges of broken clouds
and the whole section burned a bright salmon
while drifts of rain streaked bits of blue
below the bellies of heavier clouds.
We drove on through bits of showers
in the hour passing between
Topeka and Emporia.
As dusk turns into darkness,
the moon holds high in a broken sky,
just to our left as we drive through
this autumn night.
Off to our right,
in a dark bruised cluster
mustering above the northern drift
of the southern Flint Hills.
Holding between storm and silence,
we pass by unseen miles
of autumn-colored prairie grass
smoothing the shapes of long-sloped fields
broken by scrub oak and cottonwood
along the jagged lines of ditches and gullies.
Tornadoes and thunderstorms
with torrential rains
are not the things of a usual fall
in these rolling plains
but we have learned
are sometimes subject to revision
without our input or consent.
In a world where even dictionaries
reflect the changes of time and minds,
we either learn to move on through
both storm and calm
or else find ourselves driven about
by fad and fancy,
our beliefs more reflection
of our surroundings
than solid guide
and anchor to our better foundings.