Beneath My Feet

I am a terrible person to take for a hike.

Oh, I follow safety guidelines, I pack my weight, and I don’t make bad jokes about going over the edge of the cliff.

But-

I am not a destination hiker.

I do not hike to reach the end point.

The end point is a pleasant side effect of hiking.

I cannot tell you how many steps to the summit.

I can tell you when the mallow is in bloom, where the siskens nest, what the sun looks like when it reflects off the surface of a still alpine pond.

I know what it feels like to run sphagnum through my fingers, to peer so close to the tree I can see the paths created by ants running lace-like through the bark.

My feet are not ephemeral, passing without recognition along a fixed pathway.

They are connected, solidly, to the world beneath me.

I acknowledge this world with every step, with every word I write.

I am not a thousand feet away, staring out from the summit.

Every step, every word-

I am here.

IMG_5284Here. Always.


While spending too much time looking at where I am rather than where I am going, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.

Now (Act II)

 

Act II

Beer is flowing, the front row is rating their favourite extreme sports, and the band is waiting to get on with their set.

I’m going to read them a poem.

Most of the time when I write, I’m not afraid of broken glass.

But there, in the back of my head, I make myself remember that feeling.

An audience has to be here, now, with me-

Or I am speaking and writing to myself.

When I write, I ask myself, always-

Can you hear me?

Here?

Now?

I look at those words and see if they carry.

If their voice amplifies enough to break through indifference and hostility.

I stand on that stage, use the voice that carries into the mic.

“Can you hear me in the peanut gallery?”

I stand on that stage, wait for an answer.

I shame even the big guy in the back into silence.

You’re going to be with me and I’m going to take you for a ride.

IMG_5166Glass, not breaking

Act I is here. Act III is here.