“First snowfall, descending winds, face, fingers chilled…”

Fog-shrouded buoy bells, feathered sky
Ocean forests, rain turned sleet, first
Snowfall, descending winds, face, fingers
Chilled, hiking trail taken dozen times,
Disappearing, white, foreboding, winding
Course lost. Concern replaced adventure
Of winter hiking. Shelter of deep pines,
Snow in clumps branch collected, shelter
Against mariner’s dirty weather.

Winter contingencies backpacking, survival
Gear, prepared for storm-weathering, peering
From down-wind side of holly trees, trail was
Snow covered, familiar landmarks changed.
Making inventory: bottled water, granola
Bars, hand warmers, rescue blanket, breath
steaming, snow falling, few hours daylight,
Boats tying up, diesels distant revving, snow-
Plowed roads, meant coffee, warm bath.

Wind, snow subsided, afternoon sounds gave
Way to smell of wood-smoke, dinner cooking,
Imaginings of home-baked bread, better than
Sips of cold water, bites of granola bar. Some-
Thing else: winter silent night, as if forest
Was sleeping, under first blanket of spotless
Snow. From pines, I backtracked my path,
Road-grating snow plow, headlights at forest
Edge, horn honking I recognized, evening
In winter ocean forest.

For time being, I have work and family responsibilities extending
through end of Holidays, into New Years. Thanks for reading. FH 

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