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A Poem for a Thursday #76

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Louise Glück is an American poet and essayist. She has won many awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. Her poems are described as emotionally intense and dark.

You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I'm never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact
I'm looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already
the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music. You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.
Or was the point always 
to continue without a sign?

Louise Glück

A Visit to the James L. Goodwin State Forest

Thank goodness for fresh air, blue skies, and a bit of exercise. Last week my husband and I had to run an errand so on the way home we stopped at a state forest for a hike. It was lovely to be out of the house. Plus, after the last few weeks, it felt downright indulgent to go for a walk somewhere new and different.

We have been to this state forest a few times before when we had first moved into the area but it has been years. That is probably because my main memory of the walk is being eaten alive by mosquitos. However, obviously there are no mosquitos in March so last week was the perfect time to revisit it. The path was waterlogged in places but we picked our way through on the rocks. Connecticut is extremely rocky. These are a few photos of the path in one section.

The forest is crisscrossed with old drystone walls from years ago when the land was cleared. I love seeing the walls meandering their way through the trees. Every now and then we come across an old stone foundation.

We followed the trail up the lake until we came to an island with a causeway out to it. At the head of the little island, there was an overlook with benches used by birdwatchers. Unfortunately, a couple was taking up the whole overlook while they were having their lunch and there wasn't room for us to walk up too without getting too close. We headed back along a different trail through the woods. However, once we walked a good way along it we came to a crossroads where most of the converging trails were blocked off. We had a horrible gypsy moth caterpillar infestation a few years ago that has killed off a lot of trees and the notice said the paths were dangerous because of that.

We tried going down the only open trail but eventually, that was blocked too. We ended up walking in circles but we didn't really mind. It was a gorgeous day and we had nowhere we needed to be.

Finally, after about an extra hour of walking we ended up by the lake again. We had only encountered a handful of people and we had basically managed to forget for a few hours that the world is falling apart around us. All in all, a successful afternoon.

We are going to make it a weekly habit to go a little further afield for our walks. The bike trail by the river behind our house is nice but we might as well visit a few of the state forests as long as they are open and we have the time.

A Poem for a Thursday #75

Photo by Martin Sepion on Unsplash
It has been a while since I have featured a Mary Oliver poem. Her poems are some of my absolute favorites. I enjoy the way her words and the mental picture they create go together so perfectly. In this poem, she talks about just that.

You don't ever know where
a sentence will take you, depending 
on its roll and fold. I was walking
over the dunes when I saw
the red fox asleep under the green 
branches of the pine. It flared up
in the sweet order of its being,
the tail that was over the muzzle
lifting in airy amazement
and the fire of the eyes followed
and the pricked ears and the thin
barrel body and the four
athletic legs in their black stockings and it
came to me how the polish of the world changes
everything, I was hot I was cold I was almost
dead of delight. Of course the mind keeps 
cool in its hidden palace-yes, the mind takes
a long time, is otherwise occupied than by 
happiness, and deep breathing. Still,
at last, it comes too, running
like a wild thing, to be taken
with its twin sister, breath. So I stood
on the pale, peach-colored sand, watching the fox
as it opened like a flower, and I began
softly, to pick among the vast assortment of words
that it should run again and again across the page
that you again and again should shiver with praise. 

Mary Oliver

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