Hiking the Loop

Head the other way for once.
Backward to your usual forward.
South instead of north.
The trail won’t mind if you do.

Let the sun peer over
your other shoulder.
Let the mirror of the lake
reflect your shadow side.
The water will still hug the shore.

Go around the burial ground
only a half-mile in
instead of hours later.
The dead will still keep
company with the sod.

Enter the open stretch of prairie
from the west instead of the east.
Its tall grasses will still bow their heads,
worshipping the breeze.

Rise up into the woods
instead of sloping down.
The trees will still welcome you.
The hawks will still watch,
the blue jays still squawk,
the squirrels still scatter.

Somewhere out in the middle of the loop
you’re apt to meet your old self
striding down the narrow path.
Smile to greet her.
Step aside to let her pass.


Play notes: Funny how habituated we can become to the smallest things! I wrote this poem after hiking a loop trail (ha, I first typed "after hiking a poem") clockwise after having always hiked it the other direction. 


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