They give our lives meaning
we laughed to each other
at sunset as we again raised
the bear safe at timberline
and suddenly realized no bear
was likely at that altitude.

Now, years later and we, tottering,
make New Year’s Eve special
with pops of Christmas crackers
and fireworks
off our lakeside deck.

This year, we head out
into the cold dark
to struggle at rough rope
and set swinging
an old school bell
installed in the nearby field.

In a cold drizzle, it clangs
at air; we full of late-life frivolity,
giving not a thought to how many
of us will greet next year,
which of us can still navigate
the night, the chill factor,
   still share delight.