in search of a stand of old growth red spruce,
I crept along for miles
swerving around emerging boulders,
riding the high mounds of eroding streams,
creating their own path across and down the gravel road,
an “unimproved road,” forgotten, neglected,
paths within this path.
Now dropping into unseen depths,
then surging up and out and forward,
skidding across ripples of stone,
Mile following creeping mile,
no map, no signs, many “posted” on trees,
an unknown distance from that first turning
onto this gravel path miles ago.
Into a patch of sunlight,
surrounded by weeds as desiccated as the gravel.
undisturbed by humans,
Unveil unexpected songs, trickles
from springs hidden miles beyond sight upstream.
I pulled off the road and stopped.
I don’t know why, here, but something
Said, “Stop, here,” and I did.
“Get out and listen, look.”
I discovered again that refreshing feeling,
Opening the door
And standing up,
then a few steps.
I remember the joy of walking
And the compressed tolerance of sitting for a season of driving.
Standing and walking,
Crushing stems and snapping branches,
I hear chanting, coming from somewhere near.
A deep voice,
Vocalizing in her own language,
Her contentment and gratitude.
In her mezzo-soprano tones,
She is thanking the Earth’ s spring,
flowing water to the sea,
and her life,
so much like my own.
No maps, no signs, no “posted” signs on trees,
Unknown yet trusted.
Hidden beneath curling branches.
My curiosity was focused,
Longing to see the one who sang.
By moving sideways, crablike
Across wobbly stones,
I came closer to her artful presence.
Dropping beneath branches intent on protecting
Her unseen place,
Her beauty, playfully vocalizing,
A gift of freedom.
She could fall over ancient rocks,
Singing ever-changing melodies of her luscious joy.
These stones were also
Singing their own song, I could not hear,
the protecting branches chanting their song, I could not hear,
My gift was my attentive silence,
For the stones, the moss, the spring, the branches, the water,
A silence that would not disturb the chorus of joy,
in this forgotten place
of gravel and desert.
©John Holliger 2019