Yellowing aspens with patchy white coats
give way to spruce and Norway pines
with deep cool shade and rich pine scents.
Ahead, a porcupine waggles its spines.
A blanket of pine needles quilt the path.
A startled chipmunk leaps behind logs.
In the canopy above, a Stellar’s jay flutters
above a symphony of crickets and frogs.
A hawk’s sharp cry recedes far above.
A stick transforms into a black snake
that slithers dangerously beneath our feet.
A waterfall rumbles in a distant lake.
Now, far in the forest, damp with dew,
dark shadows deepen and chill the air.
The forest’s a cathedral of quietude
with emerald moss carpets glistening there.
Amid the dense woods, a clearing appears
and there’s a slight movement, our senses aware.
A deer is watching as we watch the deer.
For endless seconds, we quietly stare
before the deer quietly slips away.
Then three more pass without a sound.
We follow the path with invigorated steps.
We’re changed and awed by the beauty all around.