Thursday, October 15, 2009

our bear cousins visit

a family reunion, October in the mountains

a week into October
and summer counter-attacks with a legion of warm air,
armed to the full with water from the Gulf,
night finishes in roars of wind which wave the trees
and flash moonlight on forest floor as if a spotlight searches,

the slightest effort and I’m hot
and my sweat just sits there,
rain swallows mountain and valley
and the streams raise their voices in appreciation of the reinforcements,
a great waterfall shouts!

gathering clouds part a bit and the sun lightens the mood,

meanwhile, winter has sent enough scouts
that the weaker leaves are turning yellow,
particularly the rhododendron,
yet I also notice ironwood and poplar finding the gold within them,

still, the forest’s uniform is mostly green,
nut, berry, & seed carry dispatches to future forests,
dispatches that bear, squirrel, chipmunk, and turkey intercept
whenever they can,

as we busy ourselves with food and washing,
a neighborhood friend comes over to report bears in the neighborhood:
I shush my students,
bark quick orders to them to follow, in the quiet,
and we find a mother bear and two beautiful cubs:

big and glossy, sleekly strong,

two brothers so playful they stand and dance and box with each other,
they roll on the ground and nip,
they play at dominance
and snack on berries like teenagers on chips,
mom mostly keeps to herself and eating,

her power ready on the instant to protect her charges
so we hold ourselves respectful,
we follow and watch them for most of an hour,
our cameras snap, snapping in mostly vain attempts
to capture a touch of the wonder of the moment,

each of my middle schoolers with eyes a-blaze, almost quivery,
words wanting to tumble from their mouths,
treated to a late day visit from our cousins
so like us as we see them play
and so unlike us in where and how we spend much of our days--

we humans need such family reunions.

by Henry Walker
October 9, ‘09

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