Even as the snow is dusting the

mountain, like ash

the old birch glows with arms

outstretched, as if in welcome. 

And I stand, wishing this golden season

could last –

longer than the rattling wind’s reach 

from the white ridge above us

to the smoldering leaves below,

still held by the the birch 

in fermata –

until its great arms sway

and a blessing song rises,

flickering like flames against snow.

Listen, says the birch:

When these heralds sing 

of what falls,

each note sweetens

the cranberries.

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