Monday, September 27, 2010



There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find
the ways in which you yourself have altered.
-Nelson Mandela

Mile 1

When leaves turn the color of summer squash,
weightless, broken and brooding,
like underground springs,
take the log truck route,
with weekday determination.

Cover up; morning air is the best alarm clock.
Remember that day, when all you could offer
was integrity, when your eyes crossed the country, when Oregon
pulled back, when that return promise was sealed.

Savor these days,
when time is no longer on trial,
when even adults call you “sir.”
After all, it has been 40 years since you’ve seen
your mother’s face;

Highway 19 narrows like the river,
both tiptoe from the high country,
where riffles sing, pocket water promises, and
desire, like sunlight, gets filtered.

Mile 20

First comes the covered bridge: a red cabin riddle,
with side door and dubious origin.
Fishermen used the homey design for cover from the rain.
Fly rods become lightning rods without proper care taken.

The farmers knew their horses would only cross the river
if the way over appeared more a barn than a threat.
Covered, like a prized thoroughbred mare.

The sons became lumber barons,
leaving land fallow and worshipping all the endless resource could provide.
Protect the massive bridge trusses and they will last near a century
in their private dwellings painted bright white, rust red, or not at all.
Horses and trout stalkers be damned! Keep the road passable from mill to office,
office to bank,
bank to…another bank.

Mile 60

Main branch to Middle Fork,
North Middle Fork to headwaters,
myth to eternal return.

Those many years ago my orbit began a dark voyage,
Like an orrery, model planets around a miniature sun, it takes a lifetime to
complete the path, when external light becomes internal peace.
“It’s not how much you cover,” the sage reminds. “It’s what you uncover.”
Each time I find my way back I discover more of myself,
Each rotation ends and I marvel
at water skating over rock,
at roofs, still over rivers.

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