In loving memory of Norma West Linder
September 4, 1928 – August 26, 2023
Winter entered with November,
the first frost falling on All Souls’ Day.
Overnight, the yellow leaves of my mulberry
became clenched brown fists,
late-blooming coneflowers shriveled.
For once the lake lay subdued,
its great trout rising towards the surface,
the air above pure as crystal.
And it feels wrong standing here
without you at my side.
This was among your favourite places.
You loved looking across the water
to see if you could see Michigan,
a west wind catching at your hair,
the dark woods at your back.
Today, the migration of waterfowl
and hawks is in full swing,
our song-birds, of course, long gone.
Already, the early darkness
comes down before the supper hour.
All across the Lake Region
signs point to an early snow.
Bulrushes and common reeds
rattle as frigid winds bite;
farm fields lie stripped clean.
Unlike the previous ninety-four winters,
this is one you won’t have to endure.
You have moved beyond snow squalls
and freezing rain. This year, for both of us,
I’ll guard our lake as winter closes in.