Laurel River Hike

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.



Wearing Winter

Today Winter wears heavy,
wrapped in woolen layers;
a blinding white stole
graciously covers every flaw.
Time slows, weighted
with whys and hows,
thoughts that beg for
attention in a bitter chill.

But see  – – there it is.
I remain a sign-seeker, looking
for Love messages that appear
at the edge of awareness;
eager for an unanticipated
epiphany that may pause
my questions, renew a day’s
meaning, diminish frailties
and failures that otherwise
disturb my horizon.

The finches have not found
fresh thistle seed I put in the
red house feeder before cold
set in; I hunger so for their
appearance. But praise the lone
lady bug persistently combing
the white kitchen cabinet, certain
she will discover a warm niche.

In the stillness of this winter storm
I am reminded that every day
provides another chance to find
my way home. Why do I continue
to look for the arrows? How will I
otherwise discover the well-worn
path pointing towards Love.