July Night on the Tallulah
Twilight timidly exits the confined valley,
Never sure if it's part of dusk or night.
An ascending cacophony of cicadas
Announce the arrival of the ever-confident night.
But the Tallulah ignores them both
As it cuts its course down to the Tugaloo.
Irregular boulders of quartz and granite,
spastically positioned by some ancient
Attempt to thwart the river so as to stumble
in its relentless way.
But the river chortles as it washes by them.
(Even at the dams, it heartily laughs...)
The hatcheted trunks of the old hemlocks
And the blossoms of the mountain laurel
Are cast in a subdued manner
By the flickering orange glow
of the small campfire.
Seated, somewhat away from the fire,
Is a lone man of middle years
who ponders and remembers.
The night, ever self-absorbed,
Attempts to muscle its way
into the light of the campfire.
The bearded man notices and grunts
As he gets up to add deliberately
more varied sticks to the fire.
The hyper-active river never seems to tire
in its relentless journey,
In contrast to the lightly gray-haired man
Whose shoulders are slumped.
As a smile uncertainly sneaks
onto his bearded face,
The constellations peek through the canopy
Of eastern whites, red oaks, and hemlocks
at the man near the fire.
The lone man wonders about events in his life
And how all would be changed
If he had made different choices.
No...He would not be here now
Listening to the whippoorwill
across the narrow and tree-skirted river-
Always single-minded in its quest.
Every choice has a consequence,
an outcome or direction.
So, the question is set before the man
by the River,
"Will you be single-minded as I,
Or will you become duplicitous
as the night and day, ever changing?"
Startled, the lone man frowns reflectively
at the question
While the parasitic fire endeavors
to entrance him.
The choice is as always: Thinking of Home...