Lines on a path in the woods

the first hint
of autumn
with a cool breath
caressing our faces
our bare arms
and legs
in the still-warm sun.
Whispers an invitation
to walk
woodsy trails
under trees communicating
in rustling green tongues.
One leaf
already fallen
crispy and brown
cartwheels across the path.
It is longer than we realized.
One of us would push

for a more vigorous pace
but the other of us
is tired.
A restful respite
in the almost-chilly
tree-proffered shade
just short of the bridge
we didn’t know was here.
Cicadas chorus high above
a big black ant hurries past
and somewhere a bird sings
as if it is the very heart
of all things.
We’ve come this far.
We walk a few more steps
one a little ahead
one leaning on a cane

one breath at a time.
Not until
we reach the bridge
can we hear the water
talking to itself below
in a wordless trickling flow
going on and on and on.
And so we do
even though we can’t see
how much path
is left to travel
nor what lies ahead
around the bowery bend.
The bridge cannot whisper

It only stands
silent invocation.
It is enough.
We cross over.

We go on.


Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday invitation to write a Slice of Life and to my Spiritual Journey Thursday friends for the writing fellowship along the way. For more spiritual offerings see Karen Eastlund’s collated posts under “Finding Direction” at Karen’s Got a Blog! (Thank you, Karen, for hosting).

16 thoughts on “Lines on a path in the woods

  1. Thank you for taking us along on your journey, Fran. As always, you tuck so much meaning into your lines, leaving them like hidden treasures to find and enjoy. For me, I loved reading “It is longer than we realized.” “We’ve come this far.” Or the bridge that stands, offering “silent invocation.”


    It IS enough.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much meaning to be gleaned from this poem! Life’s journey, the physical manifestations in the autumn of one’s life, the innate need to continue despite the unknowing of what lies ahead. Those thoughts are like the deepest parts of the river you encountered, the face value of your well-placed words the gurgling ripples on the water’s surface–all worth taking the time to ponder, as we pause on a bridge of our day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your insightfulness (always), Chris – I meant for there to be layers of conscious and metaphorical meaning and I am sure some subconscious ones have woven themselves in as well. I so appreciate your deeply reflective responses – somehow, I find “rest” in them, if that makes any sense!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fran: This autumn imagery strikes a familiar note, one pushing faster, one taking it slowly. I nodded at “We’ve come this far.” I like the water talking to itself, and the cartwheeling leaf. Thank you for this poem, it says so much about this season of life.


  4. Fran, you have captured the onset of autumn with such beautiful descriptions of what you noticed on your walk: trees communicating in rustling green tongues, one leaf already fallen crispy and brown cartwheels across the path, the tree only stands offering silent invocation. This walk together says so little about the conversation but so much about the relationship: We cross over. We go on. What a glorious way to describe a happening of time well spent.

    Liked by 1 person

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