It’s Still a Kerrville, Hill Country Christmas That I Love

I am far away, now, from the limestone hills of home
Where oaks and cedars, cypress and mesquite, rise from the riverbanks
Listening to the songs blown by breezes across the bass’s dwelling
Dancing in intricate rhythms of which Avie would approve
Sparkling in the night with our pale imitations of the stars above
I had thought it silly, long ago, when my voice was higher, and
I joined the warbling sopranos and altos breathing out
Their paean to the season and the city
Lookin’ for a Santa Claus down by the Guadalup’
As I and they made ready to take on spikes and four-point racks
Dolphins and mustangs and scorpions as we fancied ourselves then
Struggling to lift up our voices, light as they were,
And in later years, when I had donned the blue and gold,
Their hues changing over years to darker tones and back again,
My thoughts were darker yet amid the lights that sprang
From trees acorn-grown and steel-wrought beside the streets
Or tall beside where a fountain stood and a gazebo stands
And they stayed darker when I went away
Visiting far-off places where the languages shifted but still extolled
The season’s glories, whatever the weather
But
In later years, when I, beaten down, returned to that place where I was raised,
I found forgiveness in all the feasting, let my heart be lifted
Where once I had pushed it down, and if I struggle still to let it rise,
Ascend the old trees whose knees poke out of the current beside
A tranquil place amid the rush and flow, overlooked by learning’s shrine,
Scale the rising landscape that strives for green in every month and finds it
Under gray curtains when Aestas has fled for other lands
Only rarely hiding it under a white blanket, and less often for long,
As the old ones note who speak of such things over cups of coffee of a morning
And whose words I still hear in my heart when I think back on it all
From where I now sit, having sought greener fields for a time and found
They are not so much to my desire as my old home
To which I return as I may, less often than I might like,
In any month, but more in the old tenth when
Older, finer clothes are donned again beside the water and
By an earl that runs from north to south and
By a baker of no small renown on the state’s longest highway
I realize, perhaps not too late for me, that
It’s still a Kerrville, Hill Country Christmas that I love
And I look forward to seeing it again

2019
Is it any wonder?
Image from the City of Kerrville and so public domain

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