Mediations on the Trail, Feb. 5, 2005

  are for when you don’t know
  where you’re going

Through the pines
  the trail has less snow on it

The trail
  is often longer than you remember

The path cuts down
  through the first stripe of bluff
  like a crooked creek

The water drops off the sandstone

The simplicity of a deer path
  that runs across the steep hill
  halfway down on
  a flat place

    Up ahead the trail along the river there is water stained the color of urine by the tannin of the forest floor. The rest of the shady trail is covered in snow a few inches deep. When I wade through it I suddenly hear running water and look up the hill and there is a waterfull dropping 10 feet at least over the bluff. The water gets six inches deep in the trail and I slog through in my tall boots. I’m glad I opted for the Gore-Tex. I go over to a bench and sit down to write.
    I have to get a closer look so I climb up the hill under the cliff and when I get up there I see that the whole overhang is shedding water and I duck through the thin curtain and sit on a flat rock under the overhang. To my right the water falls in two streams, one at least 20 feet. They are splashing and temporary, but still everything waterfall this afternoon.
    I look out onto the river below.