While I Waited, Life Happened
By Glenda Beall
In the waning days of fall vacation, leaves fly
like gold finches, poplars’ jeweled showers
rain upon the mountains of West Virginia.
Temperatures plummet to freezing after dark,
but mornings crisp as caramel apples draw us
outside where cows seek sustenance burrowing beneath
tall weeds bronzed by season’s cold.
Three horses clip remaining blades from pasture overgrazed
in the drought. Smoke plumes from burning brush cut to make
the raw road, drifts across the pond’s mosaic surface.
I find myself nostalgic for my own country roots;
Soft sounds of mourning doves and lost calves calling
for their mothers; riding horseback in the woods, quail
flush and scare my pony; crows caw from stands of willows.
Boundless days stretched before me; days of wasted youth;
Hours of restless yearning, wanting always what I did not have,
waiting to learn what I would become, waiting to live,
oblivious to the riches I already possessed.
Given a second chance, I’d hold that gift of time cupped
tightly in my hands. I’d breathe, taste and savor every second
I have squandered -- not fritter it away, but hoard each precious
minute, clutched firmly against my breast.