Guide

old hands

Weathered hands
mapped by lines of experience
gently pick up a shrivelled, dry seed.
Tan, calloused skin dwarfs the grain.

Slow, deliberate movement
rolls the seed between perceptive
thumb and fingers.
Rich, black dirt
tenderly accepts the buried offering.

Wise blue eyes observe patiently
from a distance.

Delicate green sprigs
burst through soft loam.
Pale and fragile new growth erupts
disoriented
by new surroundings.

Sunlight sends warm caresses.
Strength flows through its golden glow.
With inspired confidence the plant
deliberately stretches for the light.

When contact is made with a solid wall on the left,
new shoots and blossoms are sent to the right.

A vision of rich shades grows.
Thick, green leafy vines.
White and pink petals.
A triumphant shock of compressed energy
strives toward a radiant sky.

Petals soon fall.
Vines thicken, become brittle.
Naked seeds stand exposed on stems.

Knowledgeable hands pluck them
as they dry and shrivel.
New growth contained within their tiny husks
will not be forgotten.
They, too, will push through the soil
refreshed
recharged
jubilant.

Bullfrog Baptism

I was alone on a cloudy day
a weary fog
pregnant with plump moisture
sagged in the valleys
brushed treetops with the weight of its burden

A pungent odor permeated the thick air
as I walked outside
the smell of rot and decay
wrinkled my nose

I tried to ignore it
but the damp air trapped it
close to my body
penetrating my clothing
seeping into my pores

I walked faster
my heels clicking sharply on the gravel
crunching beneath my boots
perhaps speed
would allow me to escape the stench

Rounding a bend
beneath wet trees
releasing captured rain drip by drip
I heard a bull frog
and stopped to listen

In the stillness
I realized the foulness I smelled was with me
I tore off my jacket
flooded with relief
delighted I had removed
the offensive article

But as I continued along the path
the rotten smell slowly came back
it was as though a skunk
had sprayed me along the way

With each layer of clothing that I shed
I experienced a brief respite from
the sense of putrid death

Finally I stood naked
tears mixing with a gentle rain

I stood naked
no longer able to deny
where the smell was coming from

On my knees
face in hands
I begged an unseen power
to rid me of the fetor

I poured my heart out
to the bullfrog I had heard in the bulrushes

When I finished
silence of the forest
was broken
by a chorus of frogs
They had been there all along
I was not alone

Teardrops and raindrops
had cleansed me with the outpouring of emotion
I had unwittingly experienced
a rite of passage
No longer did I need to run from myself

This forest baptism
ablution by nature
with bullfrogs as witness
had purified my heart
my character
washed away my funky malodour
so I could recognize
sweetness and beauty within