From the High
Hills to the Bay
From the book:
Books and camera.
Enter pine and
Where meadow eases
Into autumn’s fire-leaf
And birdwing canopy.
There’s a wildness
In the robin,
Where no one stands
To taste wild apple
Or to hear
The distant chainsaw’s
Growl. Each entry beckons
Under changing sky.
Know how thorns
Progress to pine, how
Words and photographs
Revert to sources
Like the leaves
To an upland’s healing.
From the High Hills to the Bay
We’re awakened in a late March dawn
By the phoebe flown in from the South,
Rasping from walnut boughs above the shed.
Phoebes, feathered spirits of the place,
Have nested here even in the empty
Interim years between former inhabitants
And our own arrival years ago.
Already they’ve begun to reconstruct the
Fraying nest still glued beneath the eaves.
They teach us how to live here, how to know
A place as they might know it homing in blood
Through a northward passage in cold night.
Although each autumn’s silence wings them south,
Phoebes hold to knowledge of return.
Later this day, pussy willows bloom
Soft silver on the blue. Coltsfoot blaze
Suddenly from shale banks, roadside rills.
A great blue heron circles high above my
Neighbor’s woods to greet the aging rookery.
A first bluebird sheds its symbol, calling.
All of banked life flowers with new vision.
The familiar rushing creek is sculptor
Of a hollow in the upper nerve-ends
Of the Susquehanna watershed.
Its source is on the ridge dividing it
From another major river system.
We acknowledge it: our house whose rooms are
River valleys and whose walls are hills
Guiding streams into distant Chesapeake Bay.
The struggle: learning how to dwell here wisely.
Will the child who’s born to us develop
Arms for stewardship and love for place?
Our bodies age and drift from us like birds.
The land in all its vastness will absorb us
In its spell and leave us filled with silence.
From the high hills to the bay we’re flowing
On its providence, on dreams like clouds.
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