This race I run was once a thrill in younger years:
A defiant challenge danced upon the toes of time,
As I screamed my name from lofty mountain outcrops,
And crowed victorious after each relentless climb.
Fearlessly I raced through endless seasons,
Squandering my summers in heedless waste;
And when Autumn beckoned me to rest along her wayside,
I hurried onward spurred by fevered haste.
Now once more the last of summer wanes before me,
And scarlet leaves blow wild around my face.
Amidst their swirling scatter for one last breath of freedom,
I stay behind, reluctant to resume the race.
I join the eagle soaring high above me.
Wild and free it climbs to distant height.
Circling, sailing in the last of daylight’s promise,
Diving unafraid to greet the night.
The final rays of summer’s shining brilliance
Brush one last kiss of warmth upon my hair.
And leave me lost among the shadowed piney giants,
Shivering, swaying, sighing ancient prayers.
Still I linger in the mounting twilight,
Chilled by winter’s whispered hint of snow,
Knowing I should fly before the storm comes,
Pondering this reluctance yet to go.
Then, a shaken leaf, I whirl and run for freedom,
Away from winter’s ponderous embrace,
Scrambling, stumbling in the dark back down the mountain,
No more reluctant runner in the race.
And on the valley floor as I hurry homeward,
The furious thunder roars and screams in vain
From storm clouds raging, roaring high above me,
While I am washed by Autumn’s wistful rain.
Jeannie Hope (1992)