Posts Tagged ‘road’

Perhaps when I’ve lived long enough

that time and I have become good friends,

I will no longer curse at semi-trucks

going sloooow on the two-lane highway.

No, I will simply drive fourteen miles under the speed limit

and happily harmonize with the oversexed songs on pop radio

and notice how beautiful the swirls in the red rock cliffs.

I will not imagine fitting consequences

for drivers who pass in no-passing zones.

I will simply say thoughtful little prayers for them

to protect them on their way

as they blithely jeopardize the lives

of every other human on the road.  

And I’ll be so grateful for construction delays—

how they give me time to sit and reflect

about how happy I am to no longer be

the kind of woman who gets upset about traffic

and all the small-hearted dim wits

who don’t pull over when twelve cars are following them—

yes, it will be so nice to sit there beside the orange cones

with a smile on my face,

not ashamed at all that I used to be so bothered by it,

oh, remember that chapter?

I’ll be so amused I ever thought it was a problem

to creep an inch an minute for an hour and a half—

how lovely the slowness, the pace of patience,

my hands on the wheel, my foot humming above the brake.

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To walk alone

on the dirt road.

Whatever the weather,

to be grateful for it.

To step and step

and step again—

not toward an end,

but for the joy

of stepping.

Squirrel tail.

Creek scent.

Swish of last year’s leaves.

Nowhere to be

but here.

And the next here.

And next.To know

the self as traveler.

To know the self

as road.

To know each step

as freedom when

there’s nowhere

to go.






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Beside the dirt road

we find a whole bouquet’s worth

of purple penstemon,


pink wild roses, orange

globe mallow, and countless

yellow weeds. My daughter


picks them, a bride to joy,

and though there is thunder

it doesn’t rain, except for petals,


yellow sweet clover, that

she sprinkles along the dirt

to leave a trail behind us,


just in case we get lost, Mom.

she says. Sometimes love

seems to rise right out of the dirt

and damned if somehow


on that one-way road

I didn’t get wholly, beautifully,

heart breakingly lost.

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I followed the road as if it were a teacher.

It went up, I went up. It turned, I turned.

It was a long time before I relearned

that the road is not the only way to go.

The first day I walked away from the gravel,

I fell. That was the day I learned

staying upright is not what’s most important.

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No Strings

Here, we might say, here is where

a road should be. But road there is none.

Isn’t that like us, thinking we know

the world better than the world itself.

There isn’t a road. That is clear.

And we want one. That’s clear, too.

And we don’t like the fact

there is no visible road.

Whether our intention is to run away

or to move closer to,

well, that changes, doesn’t it.

And isn’t it just like us to think

we need a road. Instead,

there is this change of light,

this scent of rain. There is

nothing we might call a path,

but there is this urge

to begin to move, this desire

that causes the legs to lift,

again and again and again,

less as if we are marionettes,

more as if there is some inner drive

more real than even the real world,

and it helps us step one more step,

one more step toward what we do not know.

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Step by Step by Step

It’s a dead end, the road.
But that is only the road.
At the end is a trail
that will lead you past
the waterfall, up through
the larkspur, waist high,
up past the turquoise
glacial lakes. And then
it ends, the trail. But
that is only the trail.
The mountains do not
end. There is the scree field
to scramble on. Clamber
up to the ridge, and then there
is over the ridge, but it is not
over, this journey. Were you
hoping that it was done?
Looking for a reason to turn
around, retrace your steps,
go home? Look. No
matter which direction
you go, you are already home.

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—inspired by a title by Martha McFerren

Well, it wasn’t exactly a road, it was
more of a choice she was trying to make,
but somehow calling it a road made it seem
more manageable. At first she had thought it
an ocean. But that required a boat, and she
got seasick even on Lake Michigan, so for the sake
of success, she changed it to crossing a river,
but then even that seemed too hard, all that innuendo
of eddy and rapid and current and she remembered
the time when she nearly drowned, held beneath
the river’s surface for what, in the end, was not
long enough to see her life flash by. No, she thought,
not a river. Perhaps a great divide. But she was,
quite honestly, in a bit of a hurry, and the mountain pass
just seemed too hard. A road, she thought, yes,
a country road. A dirt road with not a car in sight. Not even
a bike. Perhaps a mailbox on the other side, with a little metal
red flag that she could put up just to prove that she’d done it,
but the flag was stuck and refused to budge and she
got so mad at the whole metaphor that she turned the road
into a path and just kept walking its length,
one foot in front of the other.

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