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  • I went deep into the woods this morning

    To flee the human.

    Hounded, haunted by disappointment and disaster--

    The planet’s suffering

    My own little vexations and failures.

    How could this be the solstice. I should be gathering wildflowers.

    Instead I walked wildly along the trail deep deeper

    Away from the cows in the field, the tractors near the barn, the airplanes overhead, the cars on the road.

    Away Away Away

    Into the cool dark

    Wild wild wilder.

    It took a tree to stop me.

    Literally.

    It hooked a root around my shoe and toppled me into the deep softness

    Of the forest floor.

    I laughed, looked up the tall straight pine to its waving branches, and nodded.

    Got it. Thanks.

    But once on my feet, I felt old rumblings rumble

    So off I went to chase myself down the trail

    Until another tree stopped me.

    No joke.

    This one was talking—really--out of its bark

    Making soft sounds

    Right there across the path:

    Breathe and listen

    What is it saying

    What is it saying

    Ah, It's not about me.

    Got it. Thanks.

    But I’m slow.

    And so a third time I sped up, couldn’t quite toss the torments

    In spite of the sun filtering its way

    Through the leaves

    The chipmunks scuttering about the ground

    The birds singing my passage

    Until yet another tree

    Shook me out of myself.

    It grabbed me just like that on

    A jag of barbed wire protruding from its skin, hanging in the air.

    A farmer’s hand years and years ago

    Marking, fencing

    And this old being, wrapping its growth around the sharp points

    Moved on, steadily on

    Surviving

    Snagging me on my foolishness.

    Self-importance, arrogance

    Peeled away and puddled at my feet.

    Got it. Really got it. Thanks.

    This evening as summer starts

    I'll burn last year’s wildflowers

    And gather fresh ones to rest over the fireplace

    Reminders

    Hope and humor

    Guides

    Through winter and my own cold dark.

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