This was just one moment on a road trip across miles of prairie. How could anyone find it aimless or repetitive. On this long-ago trip I watched two or three thunderheads and lightning storms take over the humongous sky across the miles. I veered off on gravel roads with signs that pointed to the homes of Lawrence Welk and Willa Cather’s Antonia and Laura Ingalls Wilder. With no one to direct my way or force me to race ahead, I stopped at will. A raw and unsettled feeling breathed new life in me. Maybe this was the moment that changed me forever. After this, I longed for more like this one. To feel the sky reaching out to me, lifting me off the ground. Like riding a roller coaster and falling into the sky.
We have no words of welcome for you here.
Did you take a wrong turn, forget the address?
What purpose in taking this woman, this mother, this wife?
What twist of fate have you tapped into?
Why slip in to take this life without a whisper?
We’re left to make sense of your choices.
To find purpose in a life without.
To recreate faith and hope.
That’s what humans do
after you leave.
And so we begin again.
Finding our way into a new year,
looking for tracks left behind from the last.
These first days feel unshaped,
vague, ghost-like, without definition.
As if they, too, are undecided where they’re going.
The silence of centuries
settles in amid these giant redwoods.
Nothing to say to us,
their limbs whisper high overhead.
And, later, when we yell
a friend’s name who has wandered,
our voices feel choked off
by these solitary sentinels of the earth.
Why should they speak to us?
Such weak creatures without roots.
… that late afternoon light glowing through the last leaves still hanging.
Most trees have lost all their leaves, so those that still cling to the branches seem the most jubilant — the ones that won’t give up.
Finding this bridge of leaves over a street in Calistoga, California, was a special treat!