chestnut oak trail

there’s a path just off to the left 
that ascends gently into a thicket 
of chestnut oak on either side
a small trail overgrown with sweet fern 
it leads somewhere or nowhere 
but for a while it was all there was

/ / /

11 June 2021

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in front of the crowd

i almost forgot what it felt like 
to stand on stage and read 
words i had written 
in the throes of emotion
love, lust, anger, loss, confusion 

but there i stood
reading words on
contentment
beauty 
simplicity 
little pockets of joy 

that’s what i am these days 
everything that I wasn’t then  

/ / /

9 June 2021
State College, PA

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discovering rail beds

the subtle smell of sweet not yet in bloom
the promise of summer from an earth not yet warm

in the forest are hidden rail beds
ghosts of trees that were felled
whispers of men exasperated breath

now there is talking
with each pedal rotation
a story to tell
memories shared
laughter

/ / /

11 May 2021
Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania

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through the rain

watching rain falling constant
the radio melodies competing
with raindrops on the windshield
soon I will be in my own forest

but today I’m jealous of those
that are stepping on granite rock
and taking in a coastal view
where I once stood only a few years before
among the scrub brush and pines

/ / /

9 May 2021
I-99 driving East

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evening in the backyard

two catbirds take turns at the feeder
a woodpecker drums in a distant tree
starlings peck at the last of the suet
a cardinal pair search for a suitable nest site
the song sparrow sings from the wire

these are the evenings little pleasures
as the day settles in to quiet
and the sun lowers its warmth on the earth

///

6 May 2021
Bellefonte, PA

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easy to forget

it’s easy to forget you here
among the flowering trees
and moss covered rocks

memories of you
are barely a whisper
among the giant pines


3 May 2021
Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania

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a day on the mountain

in the morning the snow is velvety white and ribbed
we skiers call it corduroy
I like to weave in and out of it
always looking to lay first tracks

we marvel at our luck
what a huge mountain to be traversing
our kid in tow, slow behind us
but eager to descend through the trees

at lunch we sun ourselves on the deck
and you remark how this is a nice alternative
to the blustery winter skiing we are used to
I wear sunglasses to shade my eyes and smile

by afternoon the snow has softened
given in to the weight of skiers and boarders
we skiers called it mash potatoes
your quintessential spring skiing

soft mounds of snow piled haphazardly on the slope
we navigate carefully around, over, through
hitting a mud patch will lurch you forward
foregoing any grace and style there may have been

But this is the price we pay
(and what a price it was)
to steal away for a few days
in a tiny A-frame, er, cabin
in the woods
to chase the remaining snow
that winter supplied this year

5 April 2021
Whiteface, NY

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on the day of our travels

I left my notebook where I wrote a poem
on the dining room table
in a rush to get out the door
make good time
get on the road

We actually did it
left the house while it was still considered morning
slated for arrival in the late afternoon
the front seat filled with pride

This seems like ominous poem
that ends with a car crash and tragedy
but it doesn’t
we pulled into the the A-frame village, and found ours among them

Unless, of course, you consider the forgotten poem scrawled on a forgotten notebook.

///

4 April 2021
Leaving PA

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The wind
2 April 2021

I couldn’t feel the wind in the forest
under the canopy of budding trees
parked at the campsite with the picnic table

I did feel the cold sting of winter’s lingering breath
fighting against the thawing earth
throwing snow sideways against the trees

On the mountain top there’s blue skies and sun
the promise of spring already visible

Winter cannot survive much longer
and together we will smile and laugh in the sunshine
squint up at the heat
swat away flies
seek shade among the thick forest canopy.

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