Speaking Mountains

“Every part of creation is indebted for its life to the other parts of creation that have died and decayed so that it might live.”

–~ Jessica Prentice

these old mountains,
they tell stories
in languages i don’t speak
and yet i still
press my ear
to the ground
and listen
as if eves-dropping
while just trusting
that one day
the conversation
between soil bacteria, fungus,
roots of trees
an occasional bee
creeping vines
flowering tops
reaching branches
and bird’s wings
will make sense to me.

i have no papers to write
no words to memorize or recite
just the slow process
of remembering…

remembering tulip poplar bloom
american ginseng berry
sassafras root
hairy poison ivy vine
rambling black bear
the screech owl’s tickled sigh well after the sun goes down
the choir of insects
that pulse through the night until
well after dawn.

these mountains ask me
to imprint the smell of forest
on my skin.

they ask me to notice how sure i feel
standing near an old-growth tree.

they ask me to be in awe of how the star-filled sky
can just swallow me whole.

they ask me to crawl inside the coyote call
and let it vibrate my bones.

the mountains teach me
that to drink from a stream,
is freedom.

to walk tall in the forest,
is nobility.

to understand the seasons,
is wealth.

to one day fold myself
into the top layer of soil,
is offering…
is selflessness…

our ancestors speak through
all this life,
all this death…

pressing my ear to the ground
listening for the mountain to speak
in its own soil sighs
and deep-rooted meanings
and stone sounds…

patiently, it waits for me to come around
to where i can participate
in the conversation.

Pisgah Forest — September 23, 2010


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