Sunlight flares through a crease in the hills
and glazes the hollow of this mountain cup.
The afternoon glows like a river
whose left bank is the sky
and right bank is the sky
and headwater is the setting sun.
Light flows along the rocks in a pool,
a satin sleeve on elegant arm,
and on to narrows where sycamores
burn in two worlds,
awash in rapids of water and rapids of light.
Connor leans on me as I sit on creekside
gravel. What was gambled, what was lost
when wolves became our dogs?
Even in repose, he burns in his current,
awash in scent and prey, and restless
to chase his timeless moment to its utter end.
The ancient dreams in his blood
have never cooled. He lives with me.
But here, he has come home.
Sun on my shoulder nudges me, and we rise
and ford the creek, and we follow
the flow of water in the creek
and the flow of light in the valley,
and we wade through a flood
of rippling shadows in the forest floor.
Then up a hillside like a stairway
half a mile long, Connor in an easy trot
and puzzled at his two-legged friend
who pauses from time to time to lean
on a stick and huff.
And at the top we step
along a narrow rocky ledge,
a bluff face to our left, treetops to our right,
and across the way
the deep green and pale yellow
of early fall and late afternoon,
then onto a bluff top, then
around the lip of a draw.
I have come to this place
from a place where time falls
from a calendar a page at a time,
where we paper our lives with memoranda
forgotten before they're read, and burn
our souls in paper fires,
our passion and our denouement
exhaled in smoke a breath at a time.
Time that scoured and cracked these ancient steeps
will wash away all trace of our concerns
and all the world we know, for all
the eons and times to come.
Here is our journey, this is our narrow shore,
and we are grander here.
We mount a rise, and follow the spine of a ridge.
And the sun is going down,
sunlight in splashes and waves lapping at treetops,
then flooding a green island in a golden bowl
and forming a lake in a basin of green hills.
And ever Connor ahead in his easy trot,
forward in the waves, forward in the waves,
we roll on together
to whatever shore awaits us.