Saturday, December 8, 2018

retreat, renew

Simplify, withdraw

December simplifies, reduces, withdraws,
people leave the gray mountains
after the exuberant party color throws in the Fall,
the oaks hold for awhile
and then swirl their leaves down finally,
as if to signal the end of a story,

this time of year I too am called to slough off,
to slough off my extrovert self for a time,
to remind myself that I don’t always need to be needed,
my social self craves to be reduced to a fallow field,
I need to go home to nature,
to creek and mountains and woods,
my friends who don’t even notice me,
yet somehow speak of the eternal
far clearer than what usually bubbles to the surface
within our human constructs,

I still feel the pull back to people,
for I can also see the eternal in them,
the best that longs to reveal itself through them,

for now I seek to read the woods,
to listen to the creek and the wind,
to feel kinship, to slip back into the embrace
of our oldest friends,

I climb out of our valley and into another,
on the ridge between them,
the Great Fire has revealed story after story:

views appear that the burned vegetation blocked,
including a hilltop effusing with quartz boulders,

heath roots reach back up toward the sky,
thousands of young pines felt a call from the scorch
to reach unto the sky and hold the hardwon soul from washing,

countless branches and trunks clutter the trail and land,
deeper in the valley witch hazel strikes forth with improbable blooms,

little treasures draw my eye:
icicles by splashing water,

a small tree stands on its roots,

shelf fungi remind me of how casually nature seems to create beauty,

while remembering to reduce, to reuse, to recycle,

I savor the ephemeral,
and I hear the eternal in each backstory.

by Henry H. Walker
December 6, ‘18

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