Gazing out our windows
at the park filled with glittering snow:
Proud tree sentinels in their new, white uniforms;
walkways waiting to be found;
benches hiding and risible.
I’m 6 years old again,
my sled with me in the still and chill of the park;
only eyes and nose are visible.
A freshly fallen gift from the Snow Creator,
the bright and glistening snow
gilds the stark and lonely park,
now coated with a peaceful softness.
I look for a hill to appear … none will.
And so still gazing and still 6,
for the Union Station I embark.
On the Burlington to Galesburg,
sitting by the window ’cause I’m only 6,
In a child’s dream world of train and snow.
I watch the farms go by in their pristine quiet,
old red barns struggling to stand
under their new weight.
The sound of wheels clicking
and the pufferbelly’s chugging
melt away into the warmth and silence.
“Galesburg!” was the welcome call,
so off we got, and off we went
to Nana’s … never “grandma,” always grand.
South Street gave us the hill;
it was no tiny Jack and Jill.
East to west, at least two city blocks;
If you survive a cool right at Holton,
the course ends at Tompkins, one block north.
Then you pull the sled, on the tread
back up the hill, with the smugness of King David.
The ride is fast, but not Olympic;
The ride’s a blast, but not eponymic.
My two older brothers acted like they didn’t know me;
The other kids stayed out of my way; it was my steering.
I’d either go straight, or straight into the curb.
But they all survived … and in the days before helmets.
I did some growing up on my South Street Hill:
Courage, self-reliance, accomplishments may not bring cheering,
recognition of stupidity (especially your own).
My window gazing ends.
I wonder where I stored my faithful sled …