I leave my office in the library
and walk around campus
travel concrete paths
past buildings of iron and brick
and greet the trees along the way,
learn their names,
watch the light and wind
through their leaves and branches
summer, winter, spring, and fall.
When it is too cold to go outside
on bitter winter days
I walk inside
where the trees are books
leaning on each other
beside my path
filled with colors, smells, sounds,
and they are dead
until someone opens one up
to read it.
Ruby R. Wilson, ©2012, from Campus Sketches. “Briggs Library Geraniums,” photo by Ruby R. Wilson
I hoped for a windmill
for our small acreage
We wondered if the ones we saw
at abandoned farmsteads
as we traveled to and from work
could be for sale.
Finally Jim and the boys built one
about twelve feet tall
out of angle iron and sheets of steel
for Mother’s Day.
I can see it from the kitchen window
as I make coffee in the morning
and through the glass door at supper-time.
When we moved Dad back from Arizona
at first he was so glad to be home
he stood and watched the windmill turn
in the landscape of prairie.
I heard “Don’t Fence Me In”
when I watched him grow restless
complain about being kept a prisoner here,
in the Veterans Home, then the nursing home
his memory slipping away
“Do I have grandchildren?”
We found the windmill mangled
upon our return from a trip —
fan blades lost and twisted
by strong south winds.
Today, Jim took off the fan
to repair in the shop.
The tail of the windmill
swings, tells us still
which way the wind blows.
Ruby R. Wilson, ©2014, from At the Rim of the Horizon, Finishing Line Press. “Windmill in Summer,” photo by Ruby R. Wilson.