Gathering Kindling

To gather kindling’s not a task or chore:

a pleasure, once or twice a week, to walk

the forest slowly, deep in thought, or not;

eyes upon the blooming forest floor

admiring mustards, vetches, and penstemons,

a basket slung upon my arm for twigs

I harvest dry from broken silver snags

of lightning splintered juniper and pinyon.

The purest moment comes in gathering kindling

when the satisfying snap is all you hear.

Neighbors’ engines driving, cutting, digging,

the jets above, even the songs of birds,

all fall away. The ricegrass at my feet

perceives the silence, the sound of god providing.

When ample kindling’s gathered in the basket,

and logs are drying stacked beside the door,

assuring through the coming storm the peace

of mind and heart derived of certain heat,

the hearth replete fulfills a simple need.


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