A Poem and a Story by Keith Mattson

Following up yesterday’s post, here are the last two verses of Robert Frost’s An older Woman, and a Piercing Little Star along with a story:

From my advantage on the hill, I judged that such a crystal chill Was only adding frost to snow like gilt to gold that wouldn’t show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue, a piercing little star was through.

When I was fifteen and living in Alaska, a very attractive dark eyed, dark haired, single working girl came to our church. She wasn’t paired with anyone and, despite my youth, we seemed to be in one another’s company whenever young people gathered.

Our relationship reached a high mark on a mountainside at a winter retreat at Victory Camp, a clump of buildings on the lower slopes of Victory Peak. I recall nothing about the retreat itself, but I’ll never forget a walk we took at sunset.

We headed up the mountain until we achieved solitude for two. Light snow had fallen part of the day. The ground where we stopped twinkled in the fading afterglow. We stood holding gloved hands and said nothing as the gold changed to red and witnessed together the first “piercing little star” appear in the blue.

I don’t know what broke the spell. I don’t remember walking back. I remember that I wasn’t the least cold though I was wearing only a sweater and a couple layers of shirt. Had I discovered that I hadn’t actually gone on a walk, held hands, and been helplessly in love for 15 minutes with a beautiful older woman, but had died and gone to heaven, I would not have been a bit surprised.

Thanks, Keith. What a memory treasure! I remember Victory Camp and faintly recall the young woman. I love your posts and the stories they tell, in photo and word.

Old Dad Lloyd