Giving Way

The storm blows
trees across lines
and we all come out to see
neighbors we have not met
in thirteen years
calling to us from across the way,
“Hello, hello, do you have power?
Do you have any damage?”
 
It is hot for days.
 
The dog and I clamber
over fallen beeches
to walk the trail
winding along a stream
as we do every week.
 
A stranger in soiled wellies with his panting
labrador pauses to ask
about the contents of our fridge
and the integrity of our roof
before apologizing
for all the mud. “The path to the pond
is pretty rough with all the trees down.”
 
The pond?
 
He and the hound bid us farewell
and I see a trail
I have never met
in thirteen years
bending off through the shattered woods.
 
It takes me two months to find
time, it is September
before we follow the thin ribbon
of roots and earth
to a place where lily pads blanket the surface
and tiny frogs whing away from the splashing
advance of my dog through mud
swallowing her up to her chest. She dips
her head again
and again to drink
living water
all of a sudden
right here.

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