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Grass No. 20 - A Long Walk

🍂 Happy Fall Equinox! A Poem and A Playlist for Fall 🍁
Grass No. 20 - A Long Walk
By Hudson Gardner • Issue #20 • View online
🍂 Happy Fall Equinox! A Poem and A Playlist for Fall 🍁

Took the long way home today
Eight miles down a railroad grade
In parts between thick spruce
In others past cow fields
Behind, the mountains with clouds and snow
Rose high and made the weather
The sun came and went
I noticed in the shade of a cloud
Or when the wind picked up
That I’d put my hands in my pockets
Without thinking
And when the sun came back
I’d flip the ear flaps up on my hat, and look around more
Stopping beneath shaded streams
To look back at the way I’d come
I walked all the way between two towns
I’d been riding between all summer
And my feet felt good in old cracked rubber boots
And they warmed up during the long walk
Got to the point where
I could stumble down almost anything
And not fall over
It took more than two hours to walk that far
I saw an old white cat
Who was so unused to seeing anyone
He didn’t see me til I was five feet away—
Then disappeared into a ditch
I thought about food
Then found a granola bar someone else had dropped
While they had walked the route
And a new quarter shining in the sun
I saw so much in those two hours
On the first day of fall
And the world’s day of peace
I felt like I didn’t need anything
Just to walk, and it felt good
But I had to call for auto glass repair on the way
To replace a cracked windshield for two hundred seventy nine dollars
Before Anna and I drove across the country
To Maine For the winter
I passed only one apple tree
Growing beside the old grade as it sloughed into town
I hustled across the road out of the way of big trucks
And grabbed an apple without stopping
Bit into it, tasted like a Fuji,
But with a bitter end to it
Strange, unlike any apple
That I’d ever had
Either they are good all the way through
Or no good at all
But this was different
And I thought about where it’d come from
Wondered how much oil and tar that tree
Had used to make its cells
That I now ate and felt strange about
But it was still half good
And I bet anything
That the tree would outlast those tracks
Because the tree itself can grow more
While the tracks just fall apart
And eventually’ll yield perfect fruit
I felt happy then
And threw the half-eaten apple
Into another barren lot
Apple pips spinning off
Into the dirt and soil
On another oil-soaked piece of ground
I remembered that mushrooms and plants
Can take in toxins
And digest them
Which made me think of the apple
And how it tasted
Then I got home
And rain came
I drank a cup of tea
And thought only of things
Outside of me
Remembered a mushroom
Growing in between ties
And its moist scent
And the walk I was on
Reminded me of the time
I lay in watered green grass
After riding into a sandy headwind, uphill
Along an interstate
Amidst trash broken trees and the endless sound of traffic rushing
At eighty five miles an hour
Into the san fernando valley
For eight hours we rode eight miles an hour
Then we lay in that small oasis of grass
It had given me hope
That with a little love
Things can grow
Even if unintended, just left alone
I finished my tea, the rain stopped
So I thought about all the things that happened this year
Good and bad
About what if I became plant
Took them in, regardless
To make from them, without meaning to
Rich, and bountiful things
Or what if I kept walking
Like Peace Pilgrim had done
Until there was peace
The golden hills
The dark clouds
The long walk
Became a memory, fading away
The wind stirred
The rain came back
I wanted at that moment
To get up and walk
All the way to where I needed to be, but then I stopped
And thought of the apple
Realized that where that tree does work
With infinite patience
Along the railroad grade
In the tar laden ground
Is right where it needs to be

Dedicated to my mom on her birthday, yesterday. She is 59 years old.
Fall Equinox by Hudson Gardner | Mixcloud
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Hudson Gardner

Writing & Photos covering place, ecology, and existence.

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