Wednesday, March 11, 2009

getting the stories

a door to open

I climb halfway up the mountain
to where a fragment of a Cherokee story
has a hero, who, while chasing a giant serpent,
finds instead Walasiyi, a great frog, going about its own story,
the hero continues on and the action story finds climax
far away from this gap and the frog who was here,

every year the mountain draws me
to hike up it and wander its slopes,

I seek its stories:

the quick anecdotes of flower and fungus,

the brief visit of a peregrine falcon or a black bear,

the ephemeral glory, or grey subtlety, of a sunset, a sunrise,
the cliff top views sometimes clear enough to pull me far away,
often veiled enough to remind me to savor the moment, the immediate,

the scientist in me seeks the back stories,
what the mycelium was doing before it fruited,
how all those who flower wrought revolution
and transformed the Earth with their success,
how the rock formed, was lifted, and how water, the great mother,
shapes the season and the mountain itself,

I can almost feel the power of the stories
that the gatekeeper of my intellect lets pass,

as I stand at the gap where Walasiyi and the Cherokee hero passed each other,
I cannot feel the truth of that story wrench me
and I cannot find the door within me to understand the mountains
as the magical mind knew them to be,

I love how many stories I can get
and that I can also get fragments of what’s beyond me,

I open every door I can
and some opened doors block the others from opening,

I mourn that so many in our culture
don’t even perceive the doors
those for whom the world is but full of things,
things which only exist for our pleasure.

by Henry H. Walker
March 5, ‘09

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