Leaves bound around my feet as I trail in the falling snow.
They skirt across my path, darting by me playfully,
as if under careful instruction from the dormant squirrel or an off-duty robin.
Huddled sparrows adorn each branch,
their wings – shivering leaves, keeping the tree company.
Their eyes – as numerous as stars,
follow me down the path, making sure I don’t break
Her illusion, Her polar mirage, Her dormant play.
A failed re-enactment that is in itself beautiful.
Wear your disguise a little longer, I think before retreating to the fire.
Quite soon you won’t have to pretend.
I sit under a tree. The park is deserted, save for a mute passerby or a focused cyclist. The ground feels hard but never have I felt this great a sense of tranquility.
It seems impossible now to find refuge from the perpetual claws of civilization, and yet here I sit, under my tree.
Gravity itself seems to pull me into an embrace, expecting me to join it at the Earth’s molten core. Only the compact soil under me prevents its desires. Still, its tug on my body deepens my state of relaxation.
As I rest my head against the tree bark, a beetle scuttles away before leaping and buzzing noisily to a branch above. Perhaps inspired by a distant bird’s song, it joins in the ballad and I close my eyes to enjoy their improvised masterpiece.
To the east, a confused cricket also seems to contribute a beat, joining in nature’s song. To the south, a wind laughs as it’s tickled by the youthful maple leaves. I can’t help but smile as well. Far to the north, a chick calls for its mother, while farther still, thunder grumbles amidst white clouds. The West brings sounds of distant lawnmowers and drills, disturbing my peace, and so I open my eyes.
Readjusting and inspecting my hands, which have been pressed against the blades of grass, reveal lines and symbols written in long-forgotten languages – nature’s hieroglyphs.
A squirrel dances up in the branches. Perhaps celebrating the bird’s and beetle’s performance, or perhaps searching for a place to store it’s loot for the distant winter. As it hurries by, its small legs set loose a few leaves that flutter down; supervised by a piece of bark. I pick up this canvas amidst the leaves and examine its long crooked bands – left over paint from a careful brush – resembling mountains of earth like the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro or Fuji. Possibly places the artist had previously visited.
It takes me only a while longer to realize my headache has dissipated.
I slowly stand up, putting a yellow plastic hat firmly on my head and nod: “We’ll build it here.”