My dad was so eager that my sister and I see the beauty of the
Smoky Mountains he created a kind of child back-pack from
The leather straps and buckles of his many camera bags.
My sister took her first ride at six. Strapped to a small
straight-back child’s chair,
Long before child carrying back-packs were invented,
My dad balanced the strap laden child-chair on top of a boulder
at the trail head of the Laurel Falls path in the Smoky Mountains.
He needed my mom to lift and hold
As my dad tightened and buckled.
While this maneuvering was taking place, my sister giggled and
screamed with glee.
Secure against my dad’s shoulders,
we began our quiet walk
on the path into an October forest of wonder,
A forest we came to know as our home.
We gazed and listened,
Rested and leaned on boulders the path had provided.
We looked ‘round and up, up to the tree tops and sky
Where antiphonal songs rode the paths of wind
A call and response,
Call and response,
Glee and joy.
The purist music because it didn’t matter if any other creature heard the song.
But it did matter for just that other love to hear and respond.
In the forest songs made their own paths on the air for miles in every direction.
This boisterous, unrehearsed choir
Sang until the coda of the peepers who
Invited everyone into the sweet darkness of night.
©John Holliger 2015