Member Rara Avis
The treeline stretches a distance.
When surrounded by oaken boughs
I recall that once I gripped
a walking stick to hike my way
through and down. Into the bracken
fields, the shattered mountains,
empty cabins. I'd stay at night
to cook my meals upon old stoves.
Breaking eggs and swiping toast
through the yolk. Bunking down,
huddled against settling sounds,
In the morning I'd wake to see
the sun climbing. Spreading branches
pulling beams of light across
the snowmelt on the ground. Sipping
coffee, smoking cigarettes,
I'd watch the threads of sunlight
waver as the sky grew thicker.
Sipping, smoking, as the clotted
skeins of clouds grew thicker,
casting shadows where was light.
I'd hoist my pack, head out again.
Walking solo through dark woods,
until I came to hear a brook
sliding over smooth brown stones.
There I'd stop to fix my lunch.
Smoke another cigarette,
as I built a small, bright fire
to boil soup upon, and sit,
and watch the thick clouds trundle on.
Sometimes I would watch the leaves
flutterrustling in the trees.
Sometimes I would take a pencil,
write a little something down.
Whatever I decided on,
the soup would taste deep, rich and warm.
The flavor of the yellow broth
would offer comfort, by the coals.
I could sit there for an hour,
resting in twin threads of smoke --
one from the dulling fire,
one from my cigarette.
The miles traveled would rest heavy,
yet I still would get up lightly,
pack my things away again
and move on.
At one moment in my journey,
I stopped suddenly. Thoughts of you
-- why I was here --
I walked to a weedy clearing.
Where I broke off twigs from trees.
Into brief mud near a log,
I lay a square in twigs and tinder.
Another cigarette removed,
the tip lit and pressed to a face --
to flame, the small square bit and lit
and smoked cautiously from its place.
Once the corners were curled in,
the image singed in memory,
I kicked cold mud upon the ash
and thought again of you.
I bit into a small, thin wafer,
clinging in my mouth. It promised
no resolution. The taste
was dry, brittle -- like that flame.
For the first time on this trip
I wish I had brought wine with me.
A cool glass to forget the smoke
as your face succumbed to fire.
Near a natural bridge, I'd stop
and start a propane burner burning,
so I could boil water near the bank.
I'd lay out eggs and get them cooking,
clicking there within hot water.
I'd light a ciggy on the burner,
take the dark rush in and ponder
how the sky was sloping down
to meet another evening.
The stars are dots of ice at night
within the empty, endless woods.
The wind whistles metallic
through the end of winter.
Sometimes I would spot a bird
gliding silent through the night --
a couple stars would blink out
as the bird passed over them.
There were times of solemn sights.
The empty cave. The smoldering dawn
heavy with storm. Running in
before the wind came on.
A runnel of water on the floor
spun nearby my foot and grew
into a puddle, cold and dank,
as the lightning shattered.
When the thunder fell
upon the trees, within the woods,
small echoes, distant,
would bring longing to my mind.
Before I packed up to move on,
as the storm broke to small drops,
I thought of the picture left
frozen gray in ash.
Maybe I will hike back.
No one deserves that alone.
I will dig out what remains
and take it back home.
I will start on my way now.
The dawn is slowly growing warm.
There's many a mile left to step.
The treeline stretches a distance.
[This message has been edited by bsquirrel (09-18-2003 06:21 PM).]