(for Amelia)

Perhaps it was the death of day
That ushered us towards making plans
Katahdin pinked by a lost sun
Signaled those endings close at hand:
The end of one week’s cabin home,
The end of summer’s golden drone,
And though we spoke it less and less
As if silence could close time’s door
Our motive for that next day’s trek
Up Doubletop, was time before
Your childhood’s end, your walk alone

Wordlessly walking those first miles
Thoughts soft-dissolved by faint birdsong
The gait of purpose soon replaced
By strides that play carried along
One last chance for us to divine
Those gifts grown beside birch and pine;
The music sung froms plashing stones,
Sunlight distilled through canopies,
Peripheral flashes, wings and bones;
The race of those the season frees
Imprinting both the trail and mind

Mountains possess a gravity –
Questions of ore that draw within
Those less concerned with answers than
Igniting youth’s wonder again
Your pace rose with each valley view
And the green ground between us grew
Surprised, I struggled hard before
You learned of cruel chronology
That robs a father’s finite strength;
The badge of his paternity
I caught you but, I know you knew

And then came hard won alchemy
Enjoyed by those in common toil
Respiring and perspiring hard
Each reach and step in rocky soil
Changed conversation’s ebb and flow
Taking us where we seldom go;
Revealing what the heart holds fast –
The daily cache of joys and stings
You spoke of vortical new love
I spoke of growing roots and wings;
The seeds that parents sow

We crested one last cloud-bound peak
Then skimmed the ridge toits bare twin
Dropping our cares beside our packs
Letting the distance fill us in
I set my map and compass down
Trying to name each azure crown
As if defining could possess
Those cairns that marked glacial retreat
But you were content just to watch
Cloud shadows flow beneath our feet
Mapping truer contours of ground

And far from a weary descent
We found our legs and mien renewed
Fueled by the air we shared that had
Rejuvenated step and mood
Propelled by some celestial force
We followed streams down from their source
To land below where you’d begin
Your life away from kith and kin
To blaze trails you alone can see
Shining your light as bright as day
But know that when your path grows dim
And you are lost along the way
That family is home - head north.


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