It was four degrees below zero Monday morning, with a brisk wind, making it “feel like” minus 18. To the folks who choose to dwell on the frozen tundra to the north of the Great Plains, like my readers in the Dakotas and Canada, I suppose that’s just another typical frigid Winter’s daybreak temperature. But in Nebraska, it’s relatively unusual and, for people like me who prefer a comfortable ambient climate above 70° inside or outside, it’s rather unpleasant. Shoveling the remnants of Sunday night’s icy snowfall from our sidewalks, I fondly recalled how nice it was last summer wearing just a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops. My bleak, arctic-like experience also brought to mind some thoughts I had put to verse back then about a much warmer day. Enjoy!

Dust blows down the long lane from a
farm house on a blistering August afternoon.
The scent of freshly mowed grass triggers
memories of Summertimes long ago.
I can hear Gershwin’s soft and mellow
“an’ the livin’ is easy” drifting around
inside my head. Forgotten dreams awaken.

Tan proofed children covered with SPF 50
revel in the neighbor’s pool, sparkling
with rippled waves of reflected sunlight.
Their giggly shouts ascend upward
into a cloudless sky on a trajectory
forever outward into our galaxy and beyond.
To the east, within an ancient cloister
solemn monks chant sacred Gregorian.
Heavenly refrains echoed by angelic hosts
wreathe an incense-bathed altar
illuminated by sunbeams from a
stained glass gospel scene above.
Miles away, eighteen-wheelers stream
down concrete ribbons back and forth,
full of something for everyone.
High overhead, hundreds of invisible
travelers sip sodas and snooze, en route
to destinations that seem important.
Somewhere else, rain falls on the just
and unjust.

Why are we so obsessed to find meaning in all this,
the daily ebb and flow of the tides of life?
Is not the unseen hand of God flavoring our
deep evolutionary soup to His own
particular taste and pleasure nonetheless?

And yet professor and peasant alike
anxiously ponder the riddles of the Universe,
standing gravely perplexed in front of their
personal chalkboards of life, yearning to
solve life’s ultimate mysteries,
looking for the same elusive truth
that puzzled even Pilate, who dared to
question its meaning, ironically while
gazing on the answer, the very face of Truth,
the omniscient Christ.