Moon at Midnight – Part IV (day 1978)

(part III)

As I sat crosslegged in the little clearing
Hidden as I was, deep within the forest
Heading East to the land of the Old People
I wondered about the faces I might see,
Faces of the men and women who would greet me,
Faces of the children playing in fields
And fields growing with the vigor
Only well cared for fields of tender hands can grow
I knew I would find
In the land of the Old People.

Beside me was a little patch of buttercups
That skirted the edge of deeper forest
Fallen logs and fir needles of this land
I could still hear the brook I had crossed
Calmly gurgling in the distance
My canteen still cold from its fill
My belly still churning from its fill
My fingers still wet and a cold
Only fresh mountain water can give,
A cleaning happily taken
Where I had let my bare feet soak gently a while.

My eyes scanned into the forest
Of an age I guessed ageless
Not a stump to be seen
Finding geometry in naturally fallen trees
Trees standing so tall my guess couldn’t reach
Moss covering so gently
I envisioned the industry nestled
Deep within the safety net of moss
That lay about thickly covered forest floor
Fungus’ mycelia layer hidden well
In healthy circles around the Ancient Giants
Old Man’s Beard hanging low
And spider webs zig-zagging
With its delicate fibers of care.

My pouch was always on me
No matter how far from camp I wandered
So as I moved away from my opening
I felt instinctively for my tools
Stepping over former soldiers
Rotting as life continued its circle
Through the efforts of decay
My soft crunch avoided the mounds
Finding edible mushrooms was easy
This early season of harvest
Upon edges of clearings I’d find strawberries
And blueberries and salmonberry brambles
So thick I’d get high
Feeding so heartily on such sugar
I knew it wouldn’t stay forever.

Fire starting was an economy no man could do without
No sane man that is,
For plenty of nights I’d been cold
In pure darkness of deep night,
But this night I had supple moss
And accessible wood dry enough to start
A warming dance in my blood
Soon the coals were hotter then the wood
That burned inside their whispers

My bed was simply a roll
The hard ground was something I was used to
I carried soft fur of a bear
On the top of my bag
Which I’d lay under my roll
To soften each night’s cold
My dream of a sheepskin
I had read about in books
Of old foreign herdsmen roaming
Highlands of Scotland
But I with my simple roll
Laid out on the ground.

part V

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