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Thanksgiving 2011


I love places:

like the earth barely covering

the stem of the tomato plant

on the balcony sunning

or other ones with names:

Jeremy’s Run near Luray

where one morning April

a brook trout beautiful

rose speckled from darkness

to the whirling light

off a Panther Martin.

There are some places,

the Appalachian trail,

or Route 1 north of Mendocino

that are too big for me

to comprehend.

I am better off with little

streams like the one

falling out of Turquoise lake

toward the Rio Grande

South of Taos leaning

into the mid day sun

or on Guadalupe plaza

where Gringos, Navajos, hippies

and touristas feather in

and out of store fronts,

small fish on coral.

Have you seen Pea Ridge

in Northwest Arkansas

covered with fog smoke

in March lifting from cannon

fired a century and a half ago?

I am so happy I saw it

before everything I own

had a camera embedded in its skin;

I cannot survive without naming

the grasses that part

fresh and gold green

beneath my feet

or calling to killdeer,

milkweed, spiderwort, obsidian.

The naming of things

is the first to go

followed by story and recollection,

and then the places themselves

fall away into a fen of ambivolence.

Meganser, ash fall, Northern Lights, crayfish.

We have been given a lifetime

to learn to love

the world we live with.

— Terry Pettit

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