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Inner retreat faltering… flurries beginning to fall
Reaching, grasping for something… unknown… not yet realized…
suddenly the snow is falling moderately outside
Onto outer retreat then, on goes flannel, outer shirt,
scarf, coat, hat with ear flaps, goat-skin fuzzy gloves.
Biting cold, moving mind via form through time and space.
Pavement not taking snow, puddling and rivulettes forming,
leaves and bush just softly dusted with a white light brush,
A man pauses, he can go up or down, on the road less traveled, or…
He chooses up, away from the norm.
An adventure is signaled, trudging through flakes and gravel,
grey road amidst many silent, natural, neutral guardian trunks,
In winter weather, oaks seem ash seem poplars,
only evergreens are shaking and catching the windy swirls.
Up he goes, into the unknown, away from civilization, an urban pioneer.
Something about a wintry mix that sparks fierce explorer in him,
when challenged in nature, he pushes on, fights to conquer a mountain.
After uphill journey, passing novel house with columns and white gate,
“no trespassing, private road.” man-made, an obscenity on this stage.
Obviously trying to evoke Jefferson, but not this day – just stop, breathe deep.
Road levels out, gravel grey and brown, dirt mixed with years of pebbles,
Now he is alone, nothing but he and white and grey and pine needles,
dancing in wind, shivering and quivering with delight,
He decides to skip, freely, now hurling body through time and space,
daring the snow to fall, heavier, stronger, mountain hears his pleas.
Road does something strange and foreign as it descends,
he opts to trail blaze. Again faced with a road less traveled.
He chooses over-steep-boulder-strewn-leafy-brambly-snowy-mountain slope,
versus easy back-tracking over boring man-made road.
Peering out near an edge, he gazes down and sees civilization far below.
He cuts across slope, circumambulating mountain,
feet slide, shoot, slip, leaves dusted with more and more cold snow,
cold wind now bites face, then is on flanks,
blue coat becoming swiftly white,
a bizarre yeti here in this urban forest.
Choosing a treacherous route on purpose, daring snow, daring mountain,
now he must use tree and hands to support, shoes not great,
sometimes mud slips out from under feet,
far below, he hears children frolicking in the snow, conjuring a smile,
do they know, do they hear, far above, upon distant slopes.
An adventurer, conquering mountain, conquering fear?
No! Only squirrels chattering indicates that they know,
his strange intrusion into their quickly changing whiteout,
Large trees, short sprouts, little saplings, cling,
cling precariously to steep slope.
From high above, a fountain of rocks,
boulders scattered down face,
Stubborn old stones, refusing to take the snow,
surfaces slick, oranges, garnets, golds and greens,
highlight lichens and ancient stories.
Complete steep slope, less slipping now,
Now faced with a decision – to press into mini pine groves,
or go around, sure to discover gross-gated, man-made house?
There! a natural doorway as pine tree is leaning precariously,
beckoning, whispering, inviting – “come to my grove.”
Decision is already made for him, he goes into deep thick tiny pines,
brambles wrap round legs, thorns bite, reminding him he is alive,
some would shy away from these fears,
large animals probably nearby – most likely deer,
he pushes ahead without hesitation.
A curious and strange large bird stirs and flies off,
quickly lost in the eddying frosty cascades.
Navigating through, around, under tangles of grape vines,
He pops out, in open spacious woods, vulnerable.
Another pine grove beckons ahead.
Then he sees a familiar landscape,
Enormous water cistern, from far side of mountain.
His bearings were correct. Snow and mountain and slipping,
did not put him off course.
Skirting around fence, he strikes toward original road.
Crossing a barbed wire fence,
an invisible threshold,
man-made, unnatural, a threat to nature,
he frowns. Whose demarcation? And for what purpose?
Sharp, nasty, metal barbs, hopefully did not cause harm.
Finding road, running swiftly down embankment, hoping road is clear.
Road no longer grey, white has taken over.
Different landscape now.
Fence white, wind forcing one side of trees to cake,
snow pelting him in face, wind pushing down coat.
Getting close to home now, he shivers.
Is his nose starting to accumulate snow?
If so, bad sign. But it feels good, alive.
Having conquered his mountain, he feels vitalized in his core.
Goal of exploring, venturing into the unknown, not having a plan.
Accomplished. Done. Next time though,
he will remember to wear his boots,
Just in case. A modern day don juan. persists gently.