This morning, early, I wakened
to a knocking at the pane—an apple bough,
fruit-laden, stirred by wind—
and rose to the morning's clear gift.
Outdoors in sunlight, bending
to the kind of labor that gives back
more than it costs, I mowed the grass
and planted a sycamore that with luck
will rise above most things, outlast
all else I've set my hands to do.
Working this day to the nub, my own way,
I hoed the garden of its weeds,
the fragile order of an intention
added to what nature had to offer.
I took it. It was mine, though more
than most have reason to expect.
And now it is evening, late summer again,
light golden on the fields, a dark seam
of cloud above the mountain's spine.
The sky does indeed resemble a dome.
From the hill behind the house
where my walk has brought me, outcroppings
of stone on the slope below glow white
against the pasture's bottomless green,
outcroppings as we are of memory,
the daily bread of insult and affection.
Even here, away from others, an echo
of the evening news persists in mind,
some old tale of bad things that happen
to some who do, most who don't
deserve them. And I give back to the air
that holds its peace an old question:
how to be in good fortune on a rare day
in late summer, just before fall begins.