The air is crisp, cold weather
that you can sink your teeth into.
It's midwinter with a brief break
between rainy weather fronts.
My fat limping dog and I have
got to get out of the house and
find some wildness.
He lets me know of his happiness
and I ignore his comment about hypocrites
as I put his leash on and
he drags me down the trail.
"How will we ever find wildness
under these conditions?"
he barks at me.
"Maybe this time boss?
Maybe this time you will let go?"
We walk down the trail by
the storm swollen stream and
hear the same question posed in the air.
The storm stream tries hard to break free
and wreck havoc, but,
the well engineered cement banks
give it nothing to grab hold of and it
careens on past to the sea, harmlessly.
The river's only hope to spread wildness
is another storm to raise its banks.
The grass above the banks is all of a kind,
easily mowed, and no threat to the asphalt
path we walk.
There is some hope of wildness
in the windblown debris
left over from the storm.
Perhaps seeds of a hardier folk
will move in among the grasses and
the perfect line of trees
that border the trail.
Such strangers will have to hide
and take cover before the caretakers
of the trail arrive tomorrow.
They will efficiently find all wildness
from the storm and make sure that
it is all discarded and hauled to the dump.
Perhaps I am looking for nature
in all the wrong places.
Here it has been collared and leashed
and rendered docile.
Still it fights back.
My hopeful dog directs my attention to the stream
and points to an otter that sinks when I look.
"Maybe this time, boss?" he implores.
Overhead, three noisy geese, free as you please,
as insolent as if they were twenty,
announce their imminent landing
at the county water control pond.
Not all of us are on a leash yet.