Backwards Memory (day 2872)

I awoke into a dream
That had me backwards memory
Two and two made half is 1
Double meant I’d run
Crossed my fingers
And crossed the bridge
Danced a jig to celebrate
With a bear who spoke my name
While two wise men
Who carried a bag
Came up to me to say
“God, young son,
Will find your way
If you close your eyes and stay.”
So off I went
In the heart of lent
Dancing bear no more
A river bent
My onward path
So I swam into the middle
Where I found my enemy
A rock, so heavy
Floated off the levy
And made it home in time
To dine.

To An End (day 2597)

Walked the seas and weathered the rain
Woke up in morning’s frost
Felt snowflakes upon my nose
Hot sun upon my ears
Wind blew off my worn out hat
Dust flew in my eye
Humidity soaked me inside out
Shriveled me up like a raisen
Saw through twenty three hours of darkness
Never slept for twenty four days straight
Walked upon burning sand
Slept upon jagged rocks
Met a mosquito in a spiders web
Fell into a great bear’s den
Entangled by a caterpillar’s cocoon
Demonized by a shadow
Yet still I look for tomorrow’s bread
As today has come to an end.

Bill Xavier Walters (day 2083)

You know, last night
I was walking through the briar patch
Thick as a skunks tail it was
And there before me was a glowing patch
Of juniper berries
I kid you not!
Juniper berries!
So I dug and I tugged
And I squeezed and I slid
I bent and I stretched
Until I made it through that prickly ol patch
And beheld those junipers
And boy did they taste good!
Sure is a change to the worms and beetles
And fiddleheads I’ve been finding
I sat right down and ate each juniper berry
One by one, plucked off the branch
Until they were all gone
And as I dug and tugged
And squeezed and slid
And bent and stretched my way out of there
Guess if I had a smile on my face or not?

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXII (day 2026)

(part XXXXXI)

As Spring shifted into Summer
Everything began to come into full bloom
I decided that I wanted to go to see Amy, Frank, and Clarinet
See how they had been getting along
And also get out into the wild
Explore a bit
Both Moon Cow and Willow said they wanted to come
And Lily also wanted to come
Everybody knows that four is a great travel party
So we were all set for a journey.

Spirits were high as we began
Each of us riding our own horse
Lily having been able to ride a horse on her own
Quite well since before she could walk
Though would usually ride behind her mother
When any distances were covered
This trip would be her first major one
On a horse of her own.

We didn’t want to push too hard each day
In no rush, and more then enough food for all of us
For the whole trip
With Moon Cow and I such good shots with the arrow
We expected to mostly catch fresh meat for dinner
We slept under the stars
With a close fire keeping us warm all night
Something that Moon Cow was very skilled at doing
It’s not easy, you know
To keep a good fire burning hot and low all night
With fresh wood scavenged from the grounds.

Willow was up before me
Gathering some water and heating up some meat
Leftover from the night before
And had gathered a few wild fruits
That were in the pasture we had stopped at
Strawberries mostly I saw
But some stinging nettle
That she wrapped the meat in
And some mint tea she was boiling
From where I lay watching her
I fell more in love with her, easily,
And just as I was starting to get a bit aroused
We both heard a sound coming from the close bushes
She looked at me and I at her
Worried what it might be
I instinctively reached for my bow
And sensed that Moon Cow had too.

When the bear cub broke into our clearing
I knew the mama bear couldn’t be far behind
I was immediately awake and circling around wide
Trying to find the mother bear
Moon Cow had went the other way
When suddenly
I was face to face with the mother
She was standing on her hind legs
Not at all pleased that her cub
Had found us
And that she was now face to face with me
And her baby wasn’t behind her
Before I knew what had happened
She was charging me
I tried to sidestep it behind a tree
Which I did, forgetting to shoot my arrow
The mother kept running
Charging right at Willow
In the center of the camp
Still by the fire minding the food
Moon Cow was there, he had heard me jump
And as the mother charged
She received two arrows into her neck
But kept charging anyway
Bowling right through the fire
And knocking willow about 2 meters backwards.

part XXXXXIII

Moon at Midnight – Part VI (day 1980)

(part V)

As my footsteps changed slope from uphill to downhill
I crested into a new valley
It was a particularly notable valley cresting
For the view I was afforded stretched from tip to bow
At the far end I could see a tail of smoke rising steady
Hovering for some time at the cloud line
Making its ever looming presence felt
As I looked down and stepped between the pebbles
Dodging in and out of the single-path trail I had been following.

My memory floated back to a woman I once had known
A woman whose smile touched the very essence of a man
Changing him instantly to a friend, forever
I had last seen her walking out of the tack store
In preparation to depart with a fresh pack of jerky
And enough rice to keep me a while,
She had asked where I was off to
And I told her what had honestly come to mind
I shared with her my dream of this land
With leaves the size of a horses head
With trees that bled sugar and turned as red as wine
She looked at me and shaked her head
Scolding that all us men ever want is our devil juice
I explained to her it wasn’t so,
She smiled and knew she was scolding the wrong man
I asked her if she would like to join me
An honest man on an honest journey
To a land beyond, to the East
But she had only replied in jest
Saying: “Honey, I’ve got too many mouths to feed.”

I started at a cracking branch
To my left, not 7 meters away,
I looked and staring back at me
Was a moose, hovering way above my head
He was looking straight at me
Antlers standing so tall and proud
Chewing on a tuft of a shrub
That hung down from the left side of his mouth
He snorted softly as he stared at me
Demanding I respect his space
I nodded back, gave a grunt
And quickly scanned the nearby forest
For any signs of a calf around.

My footstep didn’t stop
Rather, they kept along the trail I went
My heart beating loudly in my cool breath
The words of many an elder echoed in my mind:
“Moose are more aggressive then bears.”
I instinctively touched the blade
That rested at my hip
Foolish to think that such a weapon
Could disengage such a large beast so strong
I couldn’t feel the beast charging
Though I looked to check just in case.

I didn’t relax until I was over the next bend
Which didn’t take long to get
The familiar sound of a creek returned to my ears
No longer wise words warning and uncontrolled heartbeat
Echoing through my every breath
I softly observed the old man’s beard
Growing thicker as I descended into the valley below
Moss crawling higher up trunks of the silent giants
Experienced woods folk always say
That the birds will all be silent when there’s a predator around
So the light whistling of the forest’s inhabitants
The unique call of a raven
Calmed my senses once again.

When I reached a small opening
I dipped my hands in and splashed the fresh creek’s water
To my face, to wash the cold sweat that had gathered
I recognized bear droppings
A short distance from where I sat to rest
Looking at least a week old now
No danger for me, at least for the present
But a sign that they are around
And perhaps some tasty berries, too.

part VII

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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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Ode to a Valley (day 1764)

If I were an eagle
I’d be here, soaring free
Sweeping through your narrows
Upon gusts that never slow.
And if I were a rain cloud
I’d pass by every time
To feed this valley floor with
Water, for to see you forever full.
And if I were a hungry bear
I’d find my way to you
To feed upon your wild berries
And fish upon your stream.
And if I were forever wiggling
My white tail, bounding free,
I’d seek your meadow pasture
To fill my belly overflow.

wild valley near Faulkland, BC

Poem For a Great Dog (day 780)

I had a dog – a great dog to do him right
A dog so valiant he was my brother
A dog so honorable he made me proud

His sticks were always the biggest sticks
That the forest could offer up
Two lengths wide; head held so high
That was the kind of dog my dog was
And when you threw that stick for him
There wasn’t another care in the world
Bounding over logs and through tall grass
Around small trees and through thick brush

I would let him come upstairs
Sit by my feet as I worked away mine toils
Especially with loud thunder
Shaking yonder hills
I can still clearly remember when,
As a young pup, I tried to acclimatize
The tiny dog to a perch on my bed
He grew so fast and at first chance
He jumped from those heights to
More stable grounds below

He made friends with all the other dogs
He was loved by all those who knew him
His heart beat so true none could deny
His kind, gentle demeanor as he prodded on
Hardly a pup could try his strong patience
But let’s not be fooled that when needed
He wouldn’t take much testing
From neighborhood mutts

It is uncountable the amount of times
He would scare away a bear, herd away a moose
Scamper after a fleeting deer through long grass
Or jump at the sound of the resident squirrel
Sending him high in branches of his tree
He would lose himself in the forest tracking a scent
Only to reappear down the trail looking for me

He had his friends that roamed the trail behind the house
The young girl down the road and her witty sled dog
The Germans and their duck dog, oh what a pair those two made!
One that couldn’t stand a loud sound
The other that lived for the sound of a shot!
Or the wolf hound three doors down
And the proud girl with her border collie around the bend

He was a great dog, the dog that I had
When I returned home, his tail would knock
Over anything near, excited yelps uncontrollable
He would always put his nose between your legs
Slowly walking through as you scratched him down
When you got to his tail, his legs would go weak
For it was there that gave him infinite pleasure

I will miss the dog that I once had
A great dog, a brother of mine till the end
I will miss him more than the trails we used to walk
Or the seasons we’d always play

HonemoonDriveHike-20110722 (106 of 164)