February Feeding in Northern Kansas

A twenty percent chance of freezing rain
has left a slight gray glaze on this February morning,
a dim forming of ice 
so slight that you can barely see it
wrapped around each stone in the driveway.

It seems impossible
that something this thin
could so easily send us sprawling
or falling backwards 
in one of those slow-motion scenes
that ends in microseconds and CT scans.

This would certainly be a fine day
to sleep late and stay inside
with yesterday's paper and today's hot coffee.
And while that would work well enough for us
it would not work so well for the horses.

There are times in the course of life 
when desire or duty
may compel us to cross the slippery sheath.
But it works best to hold haste at bay
and make our way well aware
of the dangers that lie within and beneath—
and whether or not what waits beyond
is worth the pain of travel.

Randa and I scuff our way across the gravel
and into the crusted fescue
between the house and the barn.

Earl and Gin come romping up
from the big bale in the paddock,
breath steaming,
backs gleaming with white-spiked winter hair,
eager for their measures of mixed feed
and long drinks from heated tubs
to fill their needs amidst these shards of wind
that send human and beast 
in hard search of leeward shelter.

We finish the feeding
and shuffle back toward the house,
walking as if we were seventy
and would like to make eighty…

but would also like to get out of this wind
while we can still feel our fingers.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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