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Falling back [poem: Mountain Standard Time]

December 16, 2011

For some reason, I struggle more with the fall time change since moving to Montana than I ever have in other places. I think it’s because we’re on the cusp of a time zone and far enough north that time seems to move more quickly as the days shorten and darkness hits us on both ends. So when that time change comes, I think a bit of the hibernation instinct kicks in.

Yes, winter here is a time for fresh powder turns, long shuffles through quiet woods, and beer slushies around bonfires, but it’s also the time of hunkering indoors, with dinner parties and toasty woodstoves. This piece tells how I felt about the extra hour this year. I’ll be giving it a debut reading Thursday, Dec. 22, at The Cottage Inn, so come indoors and cozy up to the fireplace with a cool brew in hand.

Mountain Standard Time

Time has changed
setting my morning back
on its heels, leaving space
into which an impossible gift
one more hour
can wedge between rising
and nightfall

Time. More Time
So plea the overwhelmed
cry the underprepared
Now it sneaks in, cruelly avoiding
all missions
demanding: Savor me
Don’t reset ignorant clocks
Eat sweetbread and pears as planned
Move through chores and meals and routines as
though nothing has changed
certainly not Time

But late sun
threatens to reveal myth
cuts across stubbled fields
with a glow only encountered when
air frosts breath
Against crackling amber
blank sky looks white until I
face powdered-sugar ridges
perched above caramel tamaracks
flowing sweetly through
green-black lodgepole pines

Hands refuse
to still, unwilling to
waste this golden hour
but then relax, let every minute
slip through gloved
fingers with no regrets

—Julie Laing

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