A sandy, rocky creek bed in high desert.
Early winter, the day is cool, dry, sunny
The creek is almost gone, left behind
is a small run of water,
more than a trickle, but not much
Finding its way among the rocks
lush with water plants, testifying to the months that this tiny
movement of water has survived a dry, dry season.
Following the water, I have a need to find
a stick. A walking stick. A swinging, whacking stick. A stick
to satisfy the little boy in me.
There is one. Right sized and sturdy.
Covered in rough bark giving a firm grip, it will do.
Now equipped I continue walking, whacking bushes
and scribing lines in the sand and golfing small rocks,
As sticks are meant to do.
Then, around a small bend, at the base of a cut bank
the water ends. Running free then it stops in a sandy, rocky basin.
It must sink into the ground here. There is no other outlet.
Does it feed an underground lake?
Or join an invisible river racing beneath us to who
I contemplate this briefly, then, finding no lesson,
continue my walk along the now totally
dry creek bed. A bed that is wide and wild and rushing after a rain
in the desert. But now is quiet and empty. A canvas of rock and sand.
I drag my stick along as I walk.
My stick is a quill that traces my path.
It makes a furrow on the sand and skips along the tops of the rocks.
An erratic record of my path. Of my life in this short walk. Of my life.
I turn and look at where I walked. There are some marks scattered here and there,
but mostly nothing.
I walked there, but the rocks don’t tell.
I leave the stream bed, still dragging my stick and reach a broad, dry sandy expanse.
My stick could leave a long straight furrow here, but why?
It would be boring, I think.
I drop my stick and continue over the broad expanse of sameness.
Not sure what lies after, my walk is done.