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Frozen beaver pond in back of our house (before they got "removed" for the Fairfax Parkway. Frozen Beaver Pond, Reston

And yet such warmth:
gold of dead weeds, brown and red
of bare trunks basking in winter light,
the coziness of winter tamed, that
glowing-hearth feeling I get from Bruegel's
"Return of the Hunters": Bright stark
winter day, circling crows above and far off,
and far below a toy town, children skating,
smoke from chimneys--I get that feeling
here, though no children skate the pond, no
tired hunters return to their thatched huts,
nothing of man in view but dark, distant
smokeless roofs of condos; no, here
we stand alone, befriending the woods,
the sloping away of snowy fields,
befriending distance and light, finding
familiars where nothing human is,
shapes and shades the heart holds dear,

crooked blue-black shadow of a tree trunk
in snow, solid grey trunk leaning
into the light, touched with pearl--

How do we come to find these sights
not only lovely, but like our own
homecoming? It is as if we were once
the guardian spirits of these woods,
tender of them, as if, once, long ago,
we were the light.

Dean Blehert

Last Updated: October 6, 2002

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