Grey skies with promise of afternoon
showers do not deter the five women,
willing to take a chance. Bodies
eager to keep moving forward,
spirits hungry for change of scene,
they enter the rail-bed trail along
Big Laurel Creek, a forest path
waiting for new explorers. The hikers
willingly soak in the cleansing coolness
and pause to attend to the powerful pound
of rushing waters. Grace emerges to purge
the faint scent of defeat pushing against
the edge of consciousness.
Bleached river boulders, shaken loose
from mountaintops eons ago profess
unseen messages inscribed in stone
– Stand firm. Stay strong.
Green moss, clinging with confidence,
celebrates the fertile embrace of unobstructed
sunlight through winter’s opened arms.
Fallen trees toppled by simple breeze
or furious storm display ancient time-worn roots,
Beavers mark their night’s labor, precision
cuttings that surpass the art of woodsmen.
Ten thousand steps of discovery,
the women ease off the nearly empty trail
moments before the first heavy drops of rain
silently erase the signs of a day’s journey.
Five indelibly marked travelers extend
thanks with appreciative sighs.