Stone to stone crosses the creek;
step and hand carry up the bank.
Through the moat of tall grasses with golden heads,
begins the forest from the west.
Darkened shadows recede, boughs extend their arms,
take you in welcome.
There, Corinthian trees with capitals of green
create home and safety
where animals go their way.
Ashen effigies, horizontal and vertical forms
remain from a past riparian time,
complete a compositional balance.
To the east, an ancient game trail begins
for those who seek a crossing to
a place of rest and refuge.
The path is studded with the smallest cones,
felled by the largest of trees.
Needles laid by old pines scatter
to quiet this passage in deference to its solemnity.
Aesthetics are noted
by the dabbling of burnt orange and dying yellow
dropped by deciduous foliage in small clearings.
To those who do not live in this place,
the woods seem to be of silent isolation.
But within, resides a society of
contradictions, sounds and shapes.
Thousands with articulated limbs, crunch, and scurry
forming cities and hideaways in the under-brush.
Huddled passively in the painting,
is a watcher by day, skyward strolling by night.
In the lower tenements, dwell those that
chatter a language of suspicion and agitation.
Above, the elitists with capes of white screech,
wings spread as they claim the treetops.
Deer tread haltingly, polished tip of horn,
sever the staccato rush of sunlight as they go.
Was that rustling a misstep?
Solace is still attainable.
My home is near, but I intrude
upon their privacy.
I travel with down-cast eyes;
I am respectful of the generosity given to a visitor.
Not now, but one day soon,
across the pond, in these spiritual woods,
I too, will call it my place of rest.
Sherry Salari Sander
- Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art, Boulder, Colorado
- City of Kalispell, Kalispell, Montana
- Private Collections