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  • My husband went into nature, first the north woods of Michigan,
    then the Sierras, the Pacific Coast Trail, whatever wildness he could find,
    and spent his nights in poetry, Jeffers and Rexroth and Snyder,
    thinking about wilderness and ideas of wilderness.

    He was a Romantic—free and open-hearted,
    happiest naked or nearly so, filtering the water
    from an alpine pond, smelling the Jeffrey pines
    and pronouncing them “vanilla,” building camp.

    I followed him down the trail and admired
    the way his legs moved, how his pack sat on his hips,
    how he blew a fire to life with his bellows breath.
    He told me about Emerson and Thoreau and Wendell Berry.

    My husband went to seminary, bought a parcel of land
    from the monastery, and while teaching religion,
    learned how to make a prairie, and cultivated.
    He bought machinery and built a shed to house it.

    He is a man of Virtue—duty-bound and open-hearted,
    happiest working hard outside, pulling weeds or mowing paths.
    I follow him into the garden, where he built me twelve raised beds,
    snaking hoses and planting straight rows, chopping weeds with my hoe.

    I love to see him covered in dirt, in his broad-brimmed hat,
    his easy amble on the path he’s worn between the machine shed and our house.
    In the evening we sit down over a plate of good food and talk
    about the news of the day, the frustrations of working the land, the triumphs,
    the breezes cooling us through the screen of the porch.
    He told me about Hauerwas and MacIntyre and Wendell Berry.

    My husbands wake up early and make coffee,
    one in a 12-cup stove-top percolator, the other espresso in a demitasse.
    One filled the house with books of poetry on rough-hewn shelves,
    the other with furniture that is sleek and modern, made of wood and metal.
    He put the bed on wheels, so we can roll it to the window and hear the frogs,
    while the other prefers no shelter at all, a bedroll on the ground.
    Each night both men go outside and smoke a single cigarette. I think it is just
    because they long to see the stars, and think about the rightness of the world.

    For a blog entry giving more context to this poem:
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