Appalachian fall

1.
Black birch roots above the water.
Witch hazel blooming against the rocks.

2.
Above the water: a spring half covered with birch leaves – yellow – & the red and orange of maples.
Against the rocks: boulders as big as you want.
One in particular that hikers circumambulate, patting its elephant-gray sides.

3.
The stream can’t decide whether to flow over or under the ground.
If you put your ear down low, you can hear it trickling through caverns full of salamanders & stolen moonlight.

4.
The birch won’t be here long – no more than a single human lifetime.
Its trunk rests on four columns, two tercet arches above the water.
A winter wren darts from grotto to grotto.
When he pauses to sing, you think, this is how rivers get started.

5.
Rain & fog.
Pale yellow rays of witch hazel against the dark rocks, the moss-backed boulders.
What we notice depends on how often we stop, how well we listen.
You don’t need to know the names of anything, really.

6.
The birch in all likelihood doesn’t care about its reflection.
Witch hazel will scatter its seeds through small explosions; it doesn’t need the birds.
Trees die & fall – or vice versa – but are far from dead.
Wren gleans silverfish & millipede, bark beetle, caddis fly: all small things that scuttle, flutter, flow.

7.
The mountain emerges as a series of rests, an improvised pause.
You climb past the boulders in the rain, humming, a shock of white hair under a dark umbrella.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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