After breakfast, I board a simple rowboat,
no motor, only oars. My faith smolders
like the campfire I left hissing under a layer of
cool morning raindrops. Leaves wear gentle raincoats—
golden orange, cardinal red, imperial yellow.
Lily pads no longer blossom but will along with other
pinks of spring, flowering Dogwood crosses hanging
from shoreline branches, both cursed & blessed, (or so
legend goes.) Of course, I cross myself before eating
lunch, a sandwich, & later an apple, red as the sky at sunset—
sun low in the sky, soon to disappear behind the horizon,
off to shine in the opposite hemisphere.
My heart sees beyond birds on water—
beyond the obvious ducks & geese, an occasional swan.
The river bends & shallows, smooths rough stones with tiny
rapids. Back on shore, I walk the riverside along the
narrow trail. Nature startles, mystifies, alarms, teases with
ambiguity, fuels supposition. Tears diamond my cheek.
At the campground, I enter my cabin in darkness. With
no lantern, illumination comes from a brown dwarf star.
Rust-colored light radiates through doors & windows,
conceals my shadow’s blurry echo: its X-ray ghost.
I drop to my knees, close my eyes, pray comfortable,
memorized prayers, doze on the fleecy blanket used as a pallet
on the floor. Perhaps I dream. Whirly birds from a shoreline
Maple plant themselves in rocks & crannies. Daffodils nod.
Three bullies strut by, mocking a classmate
whose lips purse as though he expects a kiss—
friendship always absent, always imagined, always unrequited.
A fifth youth, who could be a saint & probably would be
discerning priesthood (if he acted every day like he does
on Sunday), joins with the recreant rumpus. Stones fly from
four pair of hands. I wake up hungry, yawn & stretch,
look out the window. I praise Jesus, thank God for His grace—
gentle strength, strong gentleness. I sing as I stoke the fire &
cook breakfast. Spirit rekindles my faith with on-going hope.
A golden rose, full-blown, bursting with life, brightens
dawn’s tender frost-carpet. Ancient promise, guarded by
velvet wings, penetrates autumnal air. Soft sunrays caress
like the Queen of Peace.