4 degrees F


My phone registers 4 degrees Fahrenheit as I walk this New Year’s Eve morning on Rabbit Lane. I do not enjoy the cold, but I know that I will find beauty on Rabbit Lane, despite the adversity, or perhaps because of it.  I am wearing as many layers as my boots, pants, and coat can accommodate.  Brisk movement is my best protection.  Also, the air is still, and the brilliant sun shines warm on my back, cutting through the cold.

Despite having completed the manuscript of my book Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road, which I am posting on this blog one chapter at a time, I know that the true story will never be fully told.  Beautiful things will happen every hour of every day that deserve telling.  The spirits of people passed on will whisper, You forgot about me.

Today, I come upon Russian Olive trees still sporting abundant fruits, burnished by months of hanging in the sun (photo above).  A Red-shafted Northern Flicker launches from a tree, flapping furiously, then torpedoes through the air without wing-beats, then flaps furiously again, sporting its white tail patch and orange primary underwings.  Torpedo.  Flap.  Dive.  Beat. There is always something new, something beautiful.

This poem attempts to capture the paradox of having completed something that can never be complete.  I hope you enjoy this last glimpse of Rabbit Lane from 2014.


My manuscript is finished.
Everything there was to write, I wrote.
All the notes have been transcribed, expanded, and stitched up.
I proofread it, twice, and double-checked the formatting.
I capitalized the name of each Bird and Butterfly and Tree and Flower.
Now there is only rejoicing, recounting, and remembering.
But nothing new can happen.
My manuscript is finished.

Bruce told me a story,
a good one, about Harvey,
that I hadn’t heard before.

Horses ran to the fence to greet us,
cheerfully, kicking up snow
and snorting steam.

Long after sunset
a thinning patch in heavy gray snow
clouds still held light, Hannah (8) pointed out.

Witch’s Tree is rotting,
her skin and flesh flaking off
into the dry waste of Witch’s Pond.

Old Cottonwood has unquestionably grown
beyond his once 17-foot girth,
though his tree-top branches languish.

(But nothing new can happen.)

6 thoughts on “4 degrees F

  1. maggiepea

    Roger…this is beautiful, as has come to be expected from these adventures down Rabbit Lane. I loved the part where you said it will never really be complete, in part, due to those who have passed on and can’t tell their story and their whispers, “Remember me.” How thoughtful you are, giving heed to every little thing.
    We’re in the process of moving things from one place to another, a major effort. I put a book in a new place the other day, a shelf in the bathroom and opened it to today’s date (it’s a Daily Guidepost edition 2009). A poem in this writing struck me and reminded me of how you have created your book and what it’s about. It goes:
    There is a silent sanctuary
    hidden from the rush of daily planting and plucking up,
    beyond the push-pull of keeping and casting away.
    of weeping and laughing,
    mourning and dancing.
    It’s a holy place where war is absorbed into peace
    and rending is not separate from mending;
    a place where vision expands beyond the temporal,
    and we escape our incessant race with time;
    a place where we are lifted up to a vision of the eternal
    and we know with an unhurried wisdom
    that this is our truest home.

    I’m not sure, Marilyn Morgan King may have written this. I thought it fit so well with today’s blog entry (chapter). You will understand its depth and meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harv Russell

    I am saddened to see that you have come to this ending of Rabbit Lane .I realize that good things can only go so far..but I also know that what you do in the future will be good and uplifting too.
    I must admit you have me curious about which Bruce and what story you were told about me .


    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      Never fear, Harvey, there are still 23 chapters to go. Some are sad; most are hopeful. All reflect the human and natural drama. You are the book’s most prominent human character because you and Rabbit Lane have so much in common, and you both have inspired me and taught me so much.

      For the new story by Bruce Clegg, see the fourth comment on the Chapter 7: Turtle Lodge post.



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