I walk each trail in early spring
(My eyes forever searching)
For what I know to recognize,
Last years treasure still so clear –
Purple shoots so proud and strong.
And when I happen upon a stand
My heart smiles, my joy is found
Tis seasons first bounty
Abundant and wild
Sprung to sting my hands!
Every leaf so delicately cherished
That joins the wicker basket
(I, so thankful and forever glad)
Will nourish my vitals
So vibrant and healthy
Upon a trail for another year.
I walk each trail in early spring
Papa could’ve been another type of man
Like a raindrop could be caught in a hand
Let another letter slip through the mail
Gone again gone again as heat prevails.
“A little gone,” says the better man
Couldn’t you have just set it right: a plan
I said goodbye into a dusty pan
Held it close as I looked inside.
When the needles dropped upon the forest floor
Little birds gathered all around
Snowdrops sprouted into the sky
And the trail twisted on.
This is my calling
Run through the forest
Trails along the way
Lead me home, sometimes.
Forage some berries
Discover a toadstool
Help a little frog
Along its merry way.
Some paths grow narrow
Hardly able to walk
A step on a branch
Scares the whole flock.
And then open up
To a wide open meadow
Dig up some roots
Soil to my soul.
This is my calling
Deep winter bark
Roots on my threshold
Home in the end.
Whisper as I walk a while
Of ten thousand year old tales
I yearn to hear the one about
The Hero’s great valour
And when the trail widens out
Don’t tell me of Icarus
I want the stormy seas of y’or
Poseidon’s great lore.
It was easy for us to get used to the freedom
Of Spring, going about the land as we wished,
Growth sprouted everywhere
And was brilliant to see
It nicely encouraged our walks
To become longer and longer
And we’d find ourselves
Re-familiarizing with the landscape
We had become intimate with the year before
It was fun recognizing a new tree had fallen here
Or the trail flooded there.
Willow continued to teach me the plants
Showing me where they liked to grow
And explaining to me how they were medicinal
Or just that they were good to eat
I could have asked for no better teacher
Almost always Lily was learning with me
Out walking with us
And sometimes we took Tall Pine along with us
He was quickly becoming a good friend of mine
As well as Lily’s
His bravery the Autumn before
Had proven him a worthy man among men,
Of course, Tall Pine and I would always have
Our bow & arrows with us
That would frequently find the necks
Of small game as we wandered.
I made a point to go and visit
Sara, Bill, and Johnny-boy
Two valleys to the North
To see how they had survived the winter
They were happy to have a visitor
And it was nice for me to be on the trail
By myself for a change
Satiating a little bit of my desire to walkabout
Johnny-boy was fascinated with the story I told them
About the miners who had raided our village
The Autumn before while the camp was out hunting
But Sara and Bill knew better then to get excited
About such savage tendencies.
Living on a homestead in the West
One had to be careful when somebody came onto your land
You could never really tell which ones
Wanted to have some tea
Or which ones wanted to shoot you
Cold blooded murder
And stay a while in your cabin
As they looted and ate all they could
And left your body for the worms.
Bill liked to tell stories
And told a few he had heard
From his mining buddies
Of: “Dem good ol’days, y’kno Joe?”
I’d nod, and he’d continue
With another unbelievable tale.
It took me a long time to get over the loneliness I now felt
Each step was an effort of motivation
My heart wanting to turn around and embrace the kindness
But I knew I had to go on
I had kept their names in my pocket book
So I could write them
And they had also given me the address of some friends
That lived East, that I might come across
On my long journey.
The weather was starting to get colder
But still very early in Autumn
So I had quite a while to make it to where I was going
The question of where I was going
Did definitely come across my mind many times
And in conversation with Frank and Amy
I had learned the distances of some of the towns
I would be approaching as I made my way East
You know you’re getting close to a town
As trails become more worn
And paths get wider
Signs of civilization everywhere
From freshly knocked down trees to garbage thrown aside
It was nice to be walking again
When a thin layer of sweat started to heat me
I remembered the little spots easily
That had so been tenderized by my pack and walking
Funny how so quick a body can forget
When it’s not being put to use
None of the pains I had felt working the axe
Inhibited my walking,
Though I instinctively reached for them
From time to time.
I spent most of the day walking at a rapid pace
Trying to get the most out of my peaceful mind
Still with a fresh set of feet and a bushy tail
I barely stopped for lunch
Just quickly finding a soft spot
And eating down the delicious food Amy had sent with me
I held a small piece of dried moose in my hand
As I walked, taking small bites and savoring the flavor
That made the edges of my mouth water uncontrollably
It reminded me of being a kid
And shredding dried jerky to put into our lips
As if we were chewing the real tobacco
A habit I never really did catch on to.
I woke to complete silence
Yet my knees screamed louder the murder
When I shifted them from slumber
Half crosslegged I had fallen backwards
Into sleep that left smoke trails
Through my dreams.
My nose was hiding itself from the cold
I looked searchingly at the fire
I could feel wasn’t even hopeful.
My pack was close enough
So I knew where matches were
But kindling rested beside my axe
Yet to be shorn from its whole
So were the tea bags that would slowly ooze life
Back into my cold frame
Easily forgetting the eyes of last night’s terror.
I made it a habit not to look back
When I walked away from yesterday’s camp
You don’t need that to remember what’s already known
Like folded socks in the side of my pack
I was well kempt and had a full bottle of water
And the industrious chipmunk
Was happy to see me go
Understood by the sounds of his chatter
That followed me along a path
I was making with my compass pointing East.
My first few steps always remembered
What yesterday so easily forgot
So I stopped and untied my shoe
To clip my nails that were growing healthy
It’s much nicer to put on warm socks
Then cold and wet socks of the first light of morning
And my pack jingled merrily
As I swung it back on.
Scanning the vastness was hard to comprehend
What had alarmed me so easily
The night before,
What creatures our dark mind magically creates,
And now looking back at me was salal so thick
No ghost could sneak through
And my heart reminded my mind
To believe in thy safety one thousand times again.
Slowly my breath found it’s groove
Steadily flowing with each footstep
My packs new bumps settled itself softly
And the world began to expose itself to me
With every step a new angle
A new tree fallen sideways
A slug neatly stepped over
An unidentified toadstool
A river softly gurgling somewhere in the distance
An obstacle I’d have to traverse.
A long way from home
And two coyotes howl into the night,
Pale moon’s looking me in the eye,
And I don’t got no campfire going tonight.
A saddle’s a lonesome companion
But this trusty steed’s sure good to me,
Four hooves and a long mane
And my dusty trail goes on.
A valley’s spread is my eager eye
Around every cresting corner,
Naming trees and flicking bees
And I’m just rolling along.
Who’s got that hat on the floor?
Someone’s burning at the other end
Smoke trails and it’s begun
For the last of the cobblestones have shattered
Into night’s mystery, coo-coo, coo-coo.
Though one long sidewalk dance
Let it be called a clean romance
Cigarette’s burning down some more
Her eyes still singing forever in implore.
Judged like the colour of pure milk
A canvas rolled into the corners ilk
While every patron danced around the room,
Spilled wine and tossed off shoes
And pearls upon every hearted romance,
As art, given at most likely chance.