Dear April today i feel old in a way i haven’t before. old in my bones. the soil’s discourse seems nearly intelligible
this mountain soil has especially hard consonants
i wasn’t working hard i was hardly working playing is more like it messing around in the dirt
tonight i found a new-to-me footpath through our woods which may seem unusual but it is a square mile property and it’s not surprising at all that one of our hunter friends should create an informal path and i not stumble across it for a while. that’s all the boring background to how i had the exciting experience of exploring a new trail in my literal backyard — which i only found because i decided to go off-trail on a whim, tempted by an opening between the trees
going off-trail is actually impossible. how does that Machado poem go?
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
wherever you walk creates a path and you step in the easier places which is where other things have stepped and pretty soon you’re drawn into the network of animal trails
although i suppose some people might have a hard time recognizing trails if they’re from some highly urbanized environment. those enviable souls get to see the forest with fresh eyes as an adult
which of course is the allure of travel. but seeing the very familiar in a new way is always a worthwhile challenge i believe. it’s the challenge of any marriage or any relationship with a place. most Americans move more often than they change romantic partners. i don’t know if that’s true but it supports my argument so let’s pretend that it is. my contention is that maintaining one’s relationship with a place, or places, is as core to one’s sense of well-being as maintaining human friendships and marriages
i suppose that’s a minority opinion in the country as a whole but in this corner of Appalachia i’d say it’s the norm
on the porch listening to a barred owl as i type this. i forgot to tell you of my owl sighting last night: one flew ahead of me repeatedly as i walked back from the far field at dusk. i think i got on its nerves because the last perch it took off from snapped under it and crashed down onto the trail
tonight i was up at Dad’s grave as it was getting dark and i just… felt uneasy. not afraid per se but increasingly uneasy. like i didn’t belong there. so of course i skedaddled
earlier in the kitchen i was remembering something someone had said about Bernie Sanders and the Vicente Aleixandre poem Como Moisés es el viejo popped into my head
Y él agita los brazos y proclama la vida,
desde su muerte a solas.
all that gesturing. “proclaiming the way to live from his death all alone”
apparently i have spanish poets on my mind though it was Zang Di and Shanna Compton that i was reading today. Eleanor Goodman finished up her selection of Zang Di poems with several he’d written in Vermont, which were a great deal of fun—seeing how a major contemporary chinese poet describes iconic american landscapes
so many important poems about america these days are being written by first-generation immigrants it’s easy to forget that shorter-term visitors such as students, lecturers, or tourists may have profound observations as well
today i thought a lot about bears but i’m guessing most bears spent as little time as possible thinking about humans