The Journey


December 19


William Mason                                                                                                                                                        April 30, 2009


Just beyond the expanse of well-kept grass,

the footpaths, the softball field … the children,

Beyond the cedar, sequoia,

sycamore, redwood, and pepper trees,

Almost out of reach

and seemingly beyond the moment,

December’s sun prepares

to descend below a line of roofs … homes.


A chill hangs tenaciously in the air,

deepened by the residue of recent rains:

The tastes, smells, sights, and sounds of summer

have given way to bittersweet memories,

And, like harvest time, fall must now give way

to the need for sleep — renewal’s beginning:

Soon, a shroud of hope will veil

the sensuousness of summer and the joys of fall.


Remnants of clouds that once bore

revitalizing rain accent the canopy above —

Itself a palette of color ablaze

with glory reminiscent of its Creator.

Quietly, softly, a blue-black blanket emerges

to be drawn gently across a living sky;

Orange, crimson, violet, cobalt, turquoise …

all must yield to night and endless points of light.


As briskly as his years will allow,

an old one moves defiantly along a footpath —

His hair white, thick, his face like worn leather,

eyes fixed on the way, immersed in the moment,

His back bōwed ( 1 ) with the burdens of life …

and yet he offers a smile graced by the wisdom of time:

This one will not quietly depart …

though, as with all, in time, depart he must.


Two friends, rugged, confident, sculpted young men,

eagerly frame a chat with a game of catch.

Each throw is promptly followed by

the clear, crisp pop of cowhide meeting leather;

Each pop is punctuated with playful jests,

tributes to lost loves … shared dreams of future quests:

Summer lies before them, and the memory of spring’s

promise burns bright; but, one day, winter will come.


In the final moments of the sun’s descent

golden shafts of light dance wildly through the trees,

Aided by a gentle breeze: The interplay of

light, limb, and wind becomes an incantation

Calling forth a kaleidoscope of color — 

dappled shades of pink, gold, green, and earth tones

Painted on a living canvass … limb, leaf, and grass.

The sun’s descent ends, the dance dies: The canvass fades.


And yet their end, their passing, brings no sorrow

because change illuminates the order, the meaning of mortality.

The fading canvass, the dying dance, the sinking sun:

In them is the seed of tomorrow’s promise.

The two sculpted young friends, the defiant old one:

In them is the evidence of hope eternal.

The arrival of eventide, the coming of winter:

In them is found succor for the listening heart.


For Heaven’s infinite majesty, revealed by the dark of night,

sows deep within the breast this truth:

We are not alone — which truth testifies of His everlasting love,

enduring grace, and gift of dreams to be pursued, fulfilled;

Knowing Eternity’s embrace we shall thus greet the sun, rising,

for we dance on the canvass of a new day

With new hearts, grateful and confident, because life’s quest

and Heaven’s promise lie ever and again before us.


And this is not all: For the waiting soul, attended by the still of winter,

is endowed by an ever-constant Heaven with the warmth of deep reflection,

Even communion, wherein courage becomes one

with the patience born of maturity and a lifetime of experience … learning,

Thus bringing forth the seed of wisdom

and the assurance of spring renewed —

Which thing constitutes hope

and the gathering of strength for the new journey, the new spring.


Limb, leaf, and grass shall once more and forever become the canvass

for a kaleidoscope of color created by the dance of light, limb, and wind,

Night’s heartfelt truths shall become one

with a new and everlasting day of boundless joy,

Winter’s glory shall be continued in a new and never-ending spring

wherein Earth shall become one with Eternity, and

The sculpted, young friends shall become as the defiant one,

then all shall come forth, renewed, in His glory forevermore.



(1) pronounced with a long “o” as in bow and arrow

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(c) Copyright 2009 William Mason. All rights reserved: The work titled "December 19" (the poem directly above) may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission from the author.




Last Updated On 2011-10-13 1:49

(c) 2010 William Mason. All rights reserved.