When in the wooded lands of fall I tread,
I take my mask down, breathe the dry oak air;
skyward I peer, as Aurora with her red
hands hails these hills of deer, sparrow, and bear.
The forest breath, it strikes against my cheek.
Freed from abstraction I’m thrust into this,
this solemn joy, this province of the meek,
where time dissolves, where space bestows its kiss.
O Mary, here the pine hills bear your name.
Mother, you held their author in your womb
so full of grace: may I become the same,
weighed down with Christ, before I meet the tomb.
O holy Lady, do not spare your power;
pray for us now, and in death’s final hour.
Sunday, November 22, 2020, near Middletown, Maryland.