Winter morning at Umstead

Leaves crunch beneath my feet,
Building cadence, left foot follows right,
Familiar, boring—yet joyful—repetition.
Miles behind me and the trail stretching yet ahead.

Frost-laden air, sharp as it enters my lungs,
And that singular sound of feet crushing frost-heaved soil.
Trees in sharp relief, golden sun filtering through their branches;
I catch my breath at their beauty and their nakedness.

Singular focus on the roots and rocks in my path,
Yet savoring the rich silence of the forest
My mind empties, though a shard of loneliness remains,
As my soul fills with the quiet beauty of December.

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