Jim Schmid’s Trail Quote of the Day #36 – November 18, 2015

When You Come to Where the Trail Ends

Sandra-Schmid-crossing-log-with-bicycle-Columbia-SC-1989

Sandra-Schmid-crossing-log-with-bicycle-Columbia-SC-1989

When you come to where
the trail ends
and stones begin
to be placed one upon the other
crowding into a wall
that splits the land,
and stumps break
the elegant curve of birch
angling to the emptiness,
when a light mist
turns to cold
drenching rain
and you crawl
into your own
sense of outside:
do you walk into the cleared field
expecting no worse than a gentle admonishing
that your muddy tracks have disturbed
the rows of seed waiting to join
the inevitable harvest,
do you draw back and fold
those earlier steps into a neat deck
of snapshots certain to please
the vicarious roamer
emptying your blood on the path
even as you struggle to alert him
of your intimate presence,
or do you draw open your hood
to the icy rain,
laugh at believing in anything
other than the cold
wet soft murmur of rills
threading the shadowy edge of forest,
and turn again to the darkening trail
as a child to the wind of night.
—JUSTIN ASKINS, in Mountain Passages: An Appalachia Anthology, edited by Robert Manning, 1982


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