DSCN2282Ann and East Coast friends, Jeanne and Bill Finley

When I lived on the East Coast,
I usually took a week-long winter vacation
at the beach.
It was easier to see the great expanse,
the austere lines
of the ocean
without so many people
in the water,
along the shore.
Bundled up
for long, cold walks on the sand,
alongside foaming,
thundering waves,
I savored every delicious moment.

The prairie in winter
is like that too—
except that the waves
are made of grass;
ocean water dried up here
millions of years ago—
leaving the great expanse,
the austere
and sublime curve
of prairie.

So it is not a surprise to me
that East Coast friends
come to visit
in the autumn,
and this year,
winter.
From the embrace
of the straw bale hermitage,
they can look out its south-facing windows
at the curve
and the spaciousness
of the prairie;
watch the grasses bow in the wind;
listen for the coyote,
see Seagulls—I mean Red-Tail Hawks—
soar in the endless expanse of blue,
hear their plaintive call;
breathe in the depth and exquisite beauty
of winter’s night sky.
And then,
come in
from that cold north wind—
to a fire,
a bowl of soup,
a cup of tea
and the welcoming cheer
of prairie friends
eager for the warmth
of those engaging conversations
from which no one wants to leave
the table;
for it is much too long
between
communions.