Bittersweet Days

At dawn, I part the curtains
and scan the yard below
I see the grass is gaining
on the dirty piles of snow

I see the spruce bows wiggle
when moved by steady airs
and my mate adds her “be careful!”
as I carefully ease downstairs

I punch my buddy’s digits
as I swallow 7 pills
and I hope they will hold hostage
my growing list of ills

thank heaven for a buddy
whose distractions ne’er suffice
to even pose the question
of a broken date with ice

27 miles pass slowly
with my patience growing thin
but 8 bells find me rigging
on the lake’s deep-crusted rim

Damariscotta’s winds are famous
they almost never let us down
and in 15 years of sailing
I can’t remember hanging ’round

And in today’s wide open spaces
In the clouds and in the sun
those winds have kept us moving
and the deepening slush o’rcome

Another day of magic!
as we sailed and pushed and talked
and my buddy’s sharp bow runner
slammed a hole we hadn’t gawked

How slowly did we linger
as we took our boats to bits
with two day’s rain predicted
we couldn’t bear to leave the pits

soon it will be springtime
and I’ll hoist the boat on strings
and think with some excitement
of playing with summer things

But today I’ve only sadness
As I scan this season’s fun
and remember zen-like moments
That flashed and then were gone.

I feel my eyeballs glisten
as my gratitude breaks free
that somehow in my dotage
ice sailing sailed to me.

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