All day, the air pressed against skin
like steamed towels, heavy and damp.
Not a leaf moved. Even the bees
seemed slow, as if they were rowing
from one drooped blossom to another.
And through it all, one wish prevailed:
Relief. Then, as if the one prayer
had finally reached the required level
of ascent, the sky took on the color
of marmalade and the trees began to dance
in its glow, buoyed by a cool wind filled
with the fragrance of rain. And when
it came, falling from the luminous sky,
all the earth, revived and joyous,
It’s been days now since the last rain.
The creek bed is all but dry. The rocks
that form it are littered with bits of bark
and a few fallen leaves. The day’s heat
dries and warms them and, looking up,
they find themselves remembering sky,
remembering when they lived atop
the mountain, all those ages ago. Now
they live with fishes beneath the silk
of cool waters, except in mid-summer
when the rains are gone and the sun
comes to kiss their faces once more,
reminding them of the time they lived
atop the mountain.
I noticed again this morning
how the forest has turned
from emerald to jade, a sign
of the leaves’ preparation
for the coming grand farewell.
So soon? Ah, yes.
Here and there, I spot
a branch of yellow amidst
the green, a trial red leaf
fallen to the ground,
and vines tinged red
climbing up the trees.
But then, as I round
a bend, a sea of gold
washes down to the edge
of the roadside, splashing
summer all over my face.
I lick the sunshine, warm
as honey, from my lips,
and its sweet taste lingers
as I drive home through
the tunnel of jade trees.
Last spring, the creek was full
of men in hip-high waders
casting for trout. It’s a ritual
they perform every April.
But as the year goes on,
they disappear, leaving
the waters to sing itheir rippling
song with the crickets and frogs
while I sit alone on its banks,
I weep in the morning
at the sparkling dew
and at the warmth
of the sun’s rays
feeding my leaves
and petals with light.
But that is not why
I have come. I have come
to sing beauty into
your world that you
might remember that
life is good, and that you
are loved. This alone
Is the reason for my being.
Only for this. Only for you.
Tucked away on the edge of the woods
a wild garden blooms. For no one
but the winged ones, the bees, the birds,
and for the jeweled crawling ones,
it spreads its carpet of colors. If you
wander here, consider yourself blessed,
and walk softly with a smiling heart.
On this patch of earth, everybody’s welcome.
The red ones, the yellows, the oranges and blues,
the fluffy, the smooth, the pointed, the round,
the large, the tiny, those who come early,
those who bloom late. Each one respected.
Each one adored. Each allowed its place
on the platform. Each singing its note
in the harmonious song. This is the way good
gardens grow, the way they’re meant to be.
You, too, are a climber,
reaching for the heights.
You, too, are meant
io open to the morning sun.
You, too, are a star
filled with inner light.
Let it shine.
Noon in the deep woods
is remarkably silent. A few
crows call. Insects quietly buzz.
Beyond that, the only sound
is the whispering of the trees,
and that fills the air completely,
like incessant prayer. You
must walk softly, stepping
with a careful foot lest you snap
a twig and startle the atmosphere.
Even then, the silence forgives
and continues, enveloping you,
accepting you, even in your lumbering,
as one of its own.
This magical gift of butterflies
was more real than a dream,
more real than the ground
on which I seemed to stand.
I say “seemed” because
when a monarch appeared,
my body itself dissolved
into the wind, leaving nothing
behind but gratitude and awe
and this incredible vision
of light and the thousand living
colors of grasses and flowers
and this wondrous winged prince,
and all of it singing, Yes.