Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Tree of Life

The air is cooler now in the waning days of summer
I pull the chambray shirt around me as sun changes to shade along the trail
The leaves of the trees are still green
The birds calling out in the bright morning sun
But the underbrush, once lush, is now faded
Dusty, waiting, leaves already falling
The scent of transition

The trail follows a riverbed of scattered rocks
Then back into the trees
Crossing a slough I step into the water
Cold and cloudy, no longer clear and flowing
It is waiting, too
Dew covered grass keeps my legs wet as I climb the opposite bank
A hawk takes wing, suddenly
The dog giving useless joyful chase

Now the river is close
The raucous sound of geese gets louder
The trail breaks into the open
The river sparkling, flowing, rumbling over rocks
Geese cover an exposed area of rocks in the center of the river
Incessant in their conversation, one lone great white egret sits in their midst, silent hunched

The dog swims and I wade, the sun warmer now
I soak my chambray shirt in the cold water and put it on, dripping
It is my insurance against the heat as we start back
Again playing cat and mouse with the sun and shade
Entering the last, the longest, bit of woods along the trail
We pause at a volunteer tree, a fruit tree of happenstance, revered on other continents
Non-native, out of place, it's broad deep green scalloped leaves flowing out of deeper shade
Seeking sun, the branches of the fig tree reach out heavy with fruit turning purple
I reach up and eat its sweet offering 
In the treetops over my left shoulder the last moon of summer gives her assent as I plunder
The tree of life

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