Wandering moment

Wander a moment with me.

 

Step down this dusty old road,

Two worn ruts with reaching fields to either side.

Might be corn or cotton around here, or perhaps soybeans lately, though tobacco still lives up north.

The crops change but the road still runs and the fields stretch on.

 

Between the fields the dark woods still hold,

In little stands and sweeping swaths of pine, oak, hickory, and dogwood.

No roads here but trails run through.

Squirrel and rabbit and boar run through too.

And generations of little boys and girls have run through too.

 

Turn now down this high bank,

Running the edge of the marsh,

With the long black-water river running beside.

Move lightly past the pine and pickerelweed; the southern swamp lily and the aged cypress.

Here are the deer and possum and the croaking frogs and water mocassin.

The air is heavy here, carrying the weight of ages.

 

Follow the dark water long enough and come to the salt marsh,

Rich with plough mud and sawgrass,

Alive with oyster beds and tiny crabs.

Take care where you step.

Solid ground may not be solid and the mud holds well when it takes hold.

Be careful when you step.

This place is ruled by the eternal time of the tides, riding the ebb and flow.

 

Just past, we find our feet upon the shore.

Miles of sand and shells

Washed and sifted by the reaching waves,

Bordered by saw palmetto and sea oats.

Old pilings and posts reach out to sea

And tidal pools hide the occasional flounder or dying jellyfish.

 

West again and we must climb.

The hills rise to mountains,

Old and worn,

Granite bones under rich, dark soil

With hidden hollows and wildflower meadows and black bears and beaver.

 

With each step, our footprints join those who came before and those to come after.

We make a line through this place,

Not the first, not the last,

But the ones here now.

Now is our walk through this place

 

Wander a moment with me.

Stand

When am I done?

 

I am battered.

I am bruised.

I am a little broken

(maybe more than a little).

 

I’ve been knocked down,

Again,

And again,

And again.

 

Each time

I didn’t see a way to rise.

 

Sometimes,

I didn’t want to rise.

 

Each time I rose.

 

Down I go,

But up I stand.

 

I stand,

I stand,

I stand.

 

I stand for…

 

Me.

You.

For truth and honesty,

For dreams and hopes,

For the simple reason that I’m supposed to.

 

That’s how I’ll know, I guess.

 

On the day when I’ve stood for all the things I’m supposed to stand for,

On the day when my muscles will no longer lift,

And my bones will no longer hold,

And I can rest secure that my watch is done,

 

Then I’ll be done.

Cradle to Grave

Deep roots.

 

My breath is the warm onshore breeze hissing through sawgrass,

The rattling clatter of autumn rushing down through the gnarled mountain rhododendron,

The slow summer exhale over fields of soybean and corn.

Winter winds falling all the way from snow-frosted mountains to the pluff-mud marshes.

 

My bones trace through stands of pine, red oak, and live oak, ancient and gnarled.

Through granite boulders and cliffs, high in the clear air,

Through rich, red clays and coastal loam.

 

My blood is black-water rivers, twisting through field and forest,

Deep lakes over drowned homes,

Tidal marshes, home to crab and heron,

And the salty edge of the Atlantic, eternally crashing on the shore.

 

I am rooted in the generations that lived and died,

Built and planted,

Sweated,

Danced,

Laughed,

And wept.

 

Where I go,

this land goes too.

 

When I finally rest,

This land will claim what remains.