Like the last leaf from spring
hanging on into winter,
or prairie grasses overcoming
snow and ice,
life hangs on to a tenuous
thread and each day is a gift.
Weeks have passed since my last visit.
Jack pine needles blanket the pole barn’s roof
a painting of solid green and brown slivers.
The front porch is covered with maple and oak leaves,
spider webs and left-over wood that was cut for fires.
What used to be a driveway is now in the beginning stages
of returning to prairie grasses with spotted wild flowers.
Dragonflies, damselflies, and other winged creatures
casually float 20 to 30 feet overhead and beneath
afternoon blue sky, growing darker as the sun
is sinking below the treeline.
With what little light is left I choose the pruning
shears and work my way to the trail I have spent the past 3-years
cleaning, clearing, and moving deeper into the forest
of countless trees, creatures, and tall guardians.
My goal is to cut branches below 8 feet and leave
a tunnel, allowing more light through and the
path to take on murky, moving shadows.
At the third tree, I stopped, still, silent
and listened as the tree in front of me,
a white birch, spoke my name.
I touched its trunk, felt its heart and energy
and decided that was enough for the evening.
I will leave you untouched, as you are,
guardian of this forest.