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Naturalist Notebook

Just A Walk


It was a winter warm night
So I zipped into my Carhart coat
And pulled my Peruvian hat
Down over my ears.

Not one small sliver of moon
Lit my solitary journey
Down a trail my boots
Knew by heart.

Perhaps late for city concrete
The ominous silhouettes
Belong to bear-sized cedars
Planted by birds.

The only real danger was me
Tripping over tiny changes
In the grassy elevations
Beneath my unsure feet.

My eyes were fixed skyward
At the uncountable lights
Given whimsical names
By watchers time forgot.

Orion is my favorite because
It reminds me of a friend
Who showed it to me
One frigid Alaskan night.

Chris wandered wilderness with me.
I hear his laughter often though
His bottle of Jack and life
Ended one dark day.

Natives say we come back again.
As I sat beside the woodstove
Crackling its warm content
I knew it to be true.

So the mournful train signaled
And Coyote Chris triumphantly
Yapped out his happiest
Song of the night.

In memory of Chris Barefoot who forever travels with me in spirit.

By Cindy Owsley