the scramble up takes both hands
my ears on the feet ahead of me,
already ascending the summit rocks,
reading old graffitti
the first of an army of fuzzy white
without my camera i'm still slow,
my eyes trained to the sides of the path,
always looking for treasure,
goldenseal, black cohosh, false solomon's seal,
fungus decorate every other tree,
gleaming white shells of the turkey tail,
and a huge bloom at the base of an oak
that stops me in my tracks.
we follow the smell of ramps, gone to seed,
spice cutting through earthy decay.
they wait for me at every crossroad:
Sundown, Broken Rock, Whitesell Junction
he is patient and follows the rules,
she fills in the silence with
happy chatter and you're so fast
but i'm two feet behind!
my big girl walks near me
wearing the movement
like a stiff new pair of jeans,
and finally settling in
once we reach the soft, silent duff of the pines.
everything changes in the pines.
light, sound, spirit.
we rest, watching the water
a vulture startles
from the underbrush
beats heavy wings to
reach past the pawpaws
onto a sycamore perch, leaving a telltale
white spray along a large
swath of the path.
it looks like paint,
you could easily miss it,
but it's my favorite treasure of the day
is someone's home