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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Wishing a Happy New Year to all my friends and family. May this coming year bring us health and happiness, and may we learn to let go of the old year as we ring in the new!

For the New Year

On this first day of the new year, may all

the birds I remember coming to the two

feeders we hung from the branches of the

Russian Olive near that long ago window

gather again here under this dawning sky

to enjoy suet, sunflower seeds, and millet.

I can’t recall the name of the store where we

got the bags of birdseed, but I do recall the

pleasure you took in filling the feeders,

defeating the wily squirrels, and our rare

glimpse of a red fox running alongside the

tracks behind the house as we watched the

constant fluttering of sparrows and finches.

And then came the flickers, those gorgeous

visitors who suddenly blessed our yard with

their red caps and brilliant speckled plumage.

On this first day of the new year, I’m feeding

too, pecking at seeds of the past, discarding

hulls that fell to lie on the snow or in the winter

pale grass, my time caught in bird-time as I

celebrate both what was and what is, winging

forward through those years to this life now,

the one where a flock of cardinals darts across

the road to light on the barren limbs of a family

of scrub oak—small scarlet harbingers whose

wings raise the dead brown leaves still clinging

to their cold branches into the dawning light

of this new year, ringing in hope.

© 2020 Penny Harter

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