10.18.2007,12:13 PM
Heaven in Tennessee

Sitting on this rock, I am here, Maine, Oregon, Idaho....so many places like this. Mountains, trees, moss, rocks, dirt, leaves of many colors. Although I've never been on this rock until now, I have been 'here' before. Decades ago.

I'm sitting on a rock alongside a logging road in Maine; the deep pine needle duff covering the ground silences footsteps and all I hear is wind rustling through the tree tops. Pine resin fills my nose, tiny pools of sunlight filtering through the tall pine trees and scattered hardwoods, and a thin layer of rusty tan dust covers my jeans, boots and long-sleeved shirt. The bike dropped out from under me as I tried to maneuver it over a fallen tree. Stepping over the trunk, I dragged the smelly machine over to the other side and leaned it up against the ledge across from my rock. Sit and catch my breath, listen to the woods talk to me, let my mind flow inward and out, then back again, while letting a few stray breezes that make it down to the floor of the forest cool me off. Let the bike sit before I have to fight with the kickstart again, before the loud chattering of the engine and exhaust drowns out the whispers and stories here.

This is an old forest, here long before I was born, before my parents and parents' parents were born. These are the Grandfathers, the Elders of the forests. And they have their own stories to tell: two-feet of rusted barbed wire encased several inches in the trunk of a pine tree as it laid down cellulose around it; layers and layers of brown pine needles cushioning like a feather bed any animal feet that dare step upon it; rings in wood radiating from their center reveal droughts, wet summers, infestations and fires; fronds of ferns several feet high slightly weaving in an occasional breeze that finds its way down through the tree canopies; small groups of spindly and opportunistic grasses thriving in places where sunlight filters through, playing tag with shadows; rotting tree trunks of fallen Elders where they lay long ago, their substance nourishing new tree saplings as insects and microbes digest the fibers, freeing nutrients that filter down through the soil during a rain.

This is the world before us, and the world that will outlive us. If we let it.

I sit on a rock. On a mountainside. In a forest. In Tennessee. I have no name, I am not a number. No car alarms, no telephones, no computers, and no TV. I'm a part of here and now. 'Just passing through, but I will take you all with me when I go.'

My bike leans onto its stand
in the middle of the dusty reddish beige road
and waits for me.
My steed through the forest Elders and time,
and all I want to see.
These rocks and trees were here before me,
and will be here after I'm gone.
But for now,
I have the moment.
And in this moment,
I am home.


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posted by Macrobe
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