Sometimes I don’t frequent
hikes I’ve done often with others
for their voices echo in my head
so that I feel extra alone when on my own.
I miss my young son’s exuberant
naming of rocks and roots:
The Rock of Goodness, Trip Root,
Duck Rock, or the Vein of Quartz.
My sweet petite friend hugged
that immense tree, fondly looking up.
She loved early spring best: the warming
bright sky before it was obscured by leaves.
Both are grown up and gone, one to college
and I don’t hear from him much,
the other passed on
to that obscure realm beyond.
I miss others too, ranging from quiet to
boisterous, their enthusiasms reverberating
in the fairy houses they made, or those
tiny wobbling rafts crafted of floating bark.
I don’t believe in ghosts, but every time
I return to those haunts I am pulled
back to the past, reminiscent, nostalgic,
feeling bereft and left behind.
But not so today. Now I realize
they are not gone after all
but still here, as I am, going forward
with blessings and purpose.
Flooded with gratitude I traipse again
these well trod paths, embracing the glory surrounding every progressive step:
getting on with myself as they want me to.
A meek lady’s slipper greets me from atop
a dappled mossy boulder, and the trill
of a thrush elusively plays peek a boo with me.
Blooming too, my heart sings forth in unison.
by Polly Castor