Poem: Winter footprints

We began our journey on the western part of the road
with the muted sun gently caressing our faces
she stayed with me until the snow got thick
she yelped falling into a high drift
following close behind step-by-step didn’t work
shoe print into my shoe print
my strides were longer
dare I turn back in chivalry?
In this cold long afternoon
even my eyelids shivered

“We’ll get through this,” I yelled
barely heard above the howling winds
and her thick rabbit-fur ear muffs
I never said it would be easy
like any journey taken together
trying to keep the pace
feeling the pin pricks of frost on my face
After all, it’s not like we’re in a race

Strange as if I could step back through dimensions
I felt like we’d been here before
Looking back, I watched her gather herself
Snow brushed off, no blood, no bruises,
The bed of white offered a soft landing
Years passed in my mind’s eye
the sledding, the snowball and angel making
when I was younger and more spry
Now my joints still hurt from the coming weather
and passing storms

The barn and horses were around the turn
I could hear them whinnying
There was no turning back
No reason to hurry, but no reason to slack
In long hours the bright horizon would turn to black
Knowing our way along the blank wide-open canvass
assured us we would not be lost
at that moment we saw hoof prints
where a herd of mule deer had crossed

Soon, we’d be there at the barn and done with our task
I looked forward to seeing the steam rising from the chimney of our house
shedding gloves and kicking off shoes
where the wise creatures stayed,
the dog, the two cats, maybe even a mouse
It occurred to me our tracks would be gone
never to be seen again
filled with more pack snow
maybe taken by the wind

It occurred to me
that trials and tribulations never last
we march, we fall, we get up
We’d do it again.
We’d been there in the past
I’m in the day, this God-given glorious day
I’m in the fray
armor still intact
though heavy on my aching back

Yet, unmistakably, I feel OK

Though my toes began to feel numb
my heart churned with warmth and gladness
the pulse of it kept me on track
wondering what some other worldly beings thought
Perhaps envious of us humans
Of what transpires in our hearts
Of what comes to light through our healing and arts
after reaching out for so long into the darkness
only to find each other
where hugs and tears dispel the worst kinds of fears

Though we struggle in this life
We’re no exception, me and my wife,
This moment, though it is nothing, meaningless in history
to others who chomp off their bit of, and rudely chew life’s marrow,
Nor marked on any worldly calendar
It all will be erased tomorrow

but somewhere in space and time…
this Love of Now
will last forever
footprints…
footprints to be walked over and over,
again and again,
as footprints on this winter day.

Published by: frankmarquezwritings

I'm a writer, and have been for most of my adult life. Without making this sound like a resume, I wrote creatively in college, dabbling in poetry, short stories and play writing. Later, I became a journalist, public affairs specialist, copy editor and eventually a guy who ran his own newspaper. Now, I'm back to letting my imagination run wild in some new creations including a science-fiction novel. Somehow, I also managed to teach English to high school kids, and roam the battlefields of Afghanistan as a field historian. Field historian may be a misnomer considering all I did was write abstracts summarizing military unit profiles and missions that included hundreds of interviews of troops and contractors in combat. I grew up in a small town called Gering, Nebraska, before escaping to Pomona, California, where I spent my last two years of high school, graduating from Ganesha High School in 1983. I have a Bachelors in English from the University of La Verne (1987), and a Masters in Education from UNLV (2007). In between, I worked for government - the Army and TSA. I served tours in Panama, D.C., and Tokyo, all thanks to a teacher who encouraged me to see the world before I settled down. As hobbies, I run, hike and bicycle long distances. I have also been known to surf and ski. I now live in my hometown after moving back in June 2015. I get to see family on a regular basis, breath fresh air, and not have to ride the D.C. metro or get stuck in traffic. In fact, I ride my bicycle whenever I can. I'm happily married to my wife Lisa, and we watch over a pack of fur babies, our dog Charley, and three cats Spike, Bootsy, and Franky (his shelter name). If you should ever visit me in west Nebraska, be prepared to feast your eyes on paradise.

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