Sunrise on Christmas
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“Sunrise on Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 1979, 57

Sunrise on Christmas

Looking up the glacial valley of the Weber

Into the high Uintas, past fading trails

Where Bannock and Shoshoni summered into Colorado,

I see light grow out above the southeast ridge.

Ah, it is the day returning,

Pale upon my face;

It is the ancient figure of my hope.

Three days ago, with a mind of winter, I marked

Again the edge of the dead lodgepole’s first shadow

On the aspen log, where other marks in shortening steps

Converged to this mark, repeated at the dark solstice.

Ai-yah! It is the sun’s death

And cold upon my breath;

It is the stillness of the turning point.

Now where I kneel to mark the rising fire,

The first rays glitter around distant spruces

But fix the shadow back a tiny step,

As it returns to the south of earlier ones.

Dear God, it is the sun returning,

Burning on my face.

It is the April taste upon my tongue.

Photography by Longin Lonczyna