No snow yet and temps continue their mild streak again this week. Perfect for taking long walks with puppy but snow – for Christmas – would be lovely. There’s still time of course, but a winter wonderland lends a seasonal framework for holiday cheer, snow lightly falling, Nat King Cole in the background singing of chestnuts and open fires, children sledding, their rosy cheeks and smiles as infectious as all get out, warm mugs of hot chocolate in hand and all that white beauty, well, it really does just do a body – and soul – a whole lot of good.

Precipitation is necessary, too, for Iowa crops next spring, for its rivers, streams and lakes, for trees and grasses, bushes and shrubs, tulips, crocuses, daffodils and luscious green hostas bordering April/May flower beds. The last several winters have produced little, and sometimes, NO snow. More and more, I’m hearing others echo my same concerns over this troubling lack of winter precipitation and warmer temperatures during the dormant months of December, January, February and March.

The climate here in central Iowa (and elsewhere) does appear to be shifting, changing, morphing into something other than what I’ve experienced – and loved – throughout my sixty-one years on this planet. Disclaimer: I adore each one of Iowa’s four seasons! However, extreme weather is another shared – and talked about – new phenomenon. This past year began most noticeably (following yet another above average warm, dry winter) with roller-coaster ups and downs of abnormal-for-the-time-of-year temperatures and precipitation.

April 2018 was frigid. May was HOT. Summer was a beast (delightful spring days skipped us entirely). Autumn, surely, would not disappoint. Oh, how I eagerly awaited those beautiful blue skies, colorful fall foliage and cool, crisp October afternoons.

Um, no.

It rained and rained and then rained some more. And it was COLD, not pleasantly, achingly refreshing cool and crisp but downright bitterly uncomfortable, windy, damp and miserable.

Who knows what the winter of 2018-2019 will bring? Right now – and at the moment I’m not really complaining, mind you – we’re enjoying some mid-December warmth and bright sunny days. I can’t help but wonder though if this isn’t a harbinger of what the next four months will be like. While I do like it now – today – it’s not what I want, like or expect of the most wonderful time of the year, let alone Old Man Winter.

Sigh.

Climate change? You really do have to wonder.

You loved your mama
through her piercing sorrows
those manic joys, those ill-considered choices
those spun-on dreams of finding love
in deceitful cold hearts wed to despicable hot hands.

All this while
your own sweet soul was pure
your generous warmth
held mama close
loving her, cherishing her.

Bliss should have been her mantra
for you were so innocent and kind
you loved her so, regardless.

Mama knows that now
sees that now
feels it now
every day
she cannot undo what was done
she cannot envelop
the boy you were then
into her grateful arms
to hold you for an eternity.

Had she only done more…

All she can do
is love you now
and yet
your love still pours forth
your colorful recollection of those gray-stock days
tinged with fondness, good cheer and gratitude.

Mama cannot comprehend
how she came to deserve
the stellar son you were then,
the fine young man you are today.

My poem, In My Father’s Office, as recently published in the Iowa Poetry Association’s 2018 Lyrical Iowa ~

In my father’s office

sunlight bursts through an eastern window
veined in cobwebs caked in sawdust.

Last year’s Miss December
dangles from the pegboard,
her curled corners cradling dead flies.
A cant hook, its handle splintered,
rests against a tired door frame.
Two large saw blades
await sharpening,
teeth blunted
from repeated contact
with prized walnut logs.

An unorthodox home
for a monstrous red geranium,
four feet tall and just as wide,
thriving on my father’s near neglect.

Mom’s green thumb
was never able to match
daddy’s indifference.

Copies of Lyrical Iowa 2018 can be ordered via the IPA website: https://iowapoetry.com/