Christmas Eve Morning ’22

Curdled by the cold and suspended by a wind
that could send old badgers deeper into their burrows,
wrinkled clouds furrow across the morning.

Beneath a thin crust of ice and snow,
hardened by three days of northern Canada
blowing through northeastern Kansas
at forty miles-an-hour
all the way to the Gulf of Mexico,

the flint-faced surface of the earth
bears no reflection of muted sunrise
broken by bare-branched hardwoods
scratching their way into morning
along the stony bluffs 
forming the southern border
of Peter’s Creek.

Slight streaks of orange 
cluster around the bright core
as the sun barely breaks through
a thin rim of sky only slightly higher
than the tops of the trees.

Snow and fescue crunch beneath our boots
as we walk through the stinging wind,
love and duty sending us
down toward the barn
where the two horses wait
for fresh feed and alfalfa,
standing with their hooves an inch above the ground,
suspended by pads of ice packed hard as stone.

While they eat, we lift one foot at a time,
hammering as if trying to bust concrete,
until their feet can once again touch the frozen earth,
at least until they walk once again out across the snow
to the big bale of hay
standing underneath the maple tree in the paddock.

Above the clouds,
a fiercely blue sky
holds taunting promise
that before this day is done,
the harsh winds will be gone
and we will sit on warm seats
sipping hot coffee,
staring at blinking lights and ribbons of satin,
talking of Christmas,
words and memory helping hold close
those we love and miss the most.

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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