Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Jump Off

Jump Off & Find Yourself

I sit high on Mt. Kephart
with a magnificent craggy-rimmed valley below me,
the only major valley I know of here
with no trail climbing out of it,
the slopes so steep and challenging
that the loggers never got into its rocky reaches,
despite how fully they cut on the gentler-sloped valleys
just over the main Appalachian ridge,
in the far distance human sign mosses over the world
and hides beneath a polluted haze,

I need such time, such experience, alone,
alone save for rock & plant & the one junco who just pipes by,
I love people but I need to clear myself
with the purging tonic of a hard hike
into a nature free from any taming but the trail,

only a receptive silence seems appropriate,
an openness to stillness
and to the ironic potential of being shaken,
quaking with a glory that fills us
if we’re open to realizing it,

I particularly love where Earth’s restlessness throws up mountains,
her fiery inner world creates and shapes the rocks,
even those the sea pressed back into shape,
like the silt stone I’m sitting on,
layer upon layer of silt hardened into stone by the sea,
then thrust into a near perfect vertical
in a long fit of plate upon plate,
and an even longer shaping by weather
and the opportunistic sheathing by the suncatchers,

I extend myself further and further,
and I’m glad I know that I need to withdraw from time to time,
so that I can feel more clear
as to the source that powers me at my best.

by Henry H. Walker
November 7, ‘08

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