Poets are popularly supposed to have their heads in the clouds, but not me. Some days, I rarely look up. Why bother? There’s so much to see right at my feet.
Even still, I can’t avoid the occasional view of the clouds. I’m not sure what this shard of glass is doing in the middle of a well-used trail. I had a bit of a Chicken Little moment before I figured out what the hell it was.
Some people are obsessed with the idea of a sky-father watching over them. But the ground has eyes, too. Finding these puffballs right after the shard of glass, I’m reminded of the Aztec kenning for the earth: mirror that smokes.
Views of autumn foliage from a moving car quickly grow tiresome. It’s much more rewarding to do your leaf-peeping one leaf at a time, I find. And again, the ground is the best place to look — you don’t need binoculars.
With the temperature in the mid-50s, every pool of sunlight has its sunbathing flies. I almost expect to see them rubbing their front legs together to get warm.
A little farther along the trail, I find another piece of misplaced sky: a patch of mud from an almost dried-up spring shining blue from animal excrement. A Google search of “blue mud” turns up the idiomatic phrase “full of blue mud,” meaning “full of shit.”
A log-end down by the stream bristles with white polypores. But when I bend close, it’s these pinhead-sized cup fungi that catch my eye instead. They remind me of spider mites, seemingly trying to compensate for their diminutive size by being as red as possible.
The stream has been reduced in many places to a series of large puddles. The only ripples on the surface come when the water strider changes position, which it does twice a minute or so. I watch it for a while, fascinated as always by the saucer-shaped dimples under its feet, like a literal demonstration of Einstein’s discovery that gravity bends space.
On the way back up the road, I’m charmed by the view of a white wood aster against a large pine tree. Whatever the rest of the tree might be doing against the sky almost doesn’t matter. I’ll have all winter to look at things like that.
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).