Back Country

Some subtle change in the air
Triggers my internal alarm.
Like a mummy in high-tech wrappings,
I peer from my nylon shell
To see the morning light
As it filters softly through the trees,
Warming the cold, still air,
And setting the dew-swept branches into motion.

It is a ritual I know well.
Packing my bedroll methodically and efficiently,
I prepare to move on.
As lovely as this place is,
There are many more to see.
Only so many hours each day.
I pause only for a bite of dehydrates,
A sip of canteened water,
Before cinching up my straps again.

Echoes of my favorite songs
Rhythmically push me onward
As my feet glide effortlessly over mossy roots,
Slick red sandstone.
My eyes wander slowly across
Stands of oak and pine,
Crazily spiraled limestone walls,
Jagged bluffs
Where tiny cedars tenaciously cling.

Total immersion.
Away from
All modern things:
Electric sounds
Commercial images…

Terrain beneath,
Rustles above,
The scent of the wind.

My senses, like timid animals,
Slowly approach,
And reveal
What was there all along.