Wildlife Opening

We have camped in this wildlife opening
for a hundred thousand years,
since human beings were only one more twig
on a single branch
of the vast living wilderness,
before we learned the art of clearing trees
with fire, making openings
for crops to grow, for astronomers
to see the stars

We return to camp once more
in this meadow cleared to lure the deer
within range of the hunter’s gun
in this time when all the arts of fire
are burning out of control,
changing the very chemistry of the air
all creatures breathe,
an entire civilization hurtling
at the speed of electricity
down a dead-end highway

We come together in this forest clearing
to learn the art of growing wild again,
to listen to these trees
explaining with their deep-searching roots
how to anchor ourselves in the Earth,
describing with their reaching limbs
how to embrace the sky,
repeating over and over
in every blossoming bud and fallen leaf
how to live without fear
and die without regret

We will camp here a few more days
and disappear, taking with us
every scrap of civilization we carried in,
and something more: the wild peace
of this opening in the trees,
the love song of this quiet stream,
invisible spores of a forest
that will sprout up inside us
from the dark fertile cracks
between the clicking channels of fear,
the ticking minutes of regret

We will always remember this wild
circle of faces shining in the grass,
the wild voices of these children
teaching us the secret meaning of silence,
even long after the fire-breathing machines
stop coming in to mow this meadow
and the trees close in to claim it once more . . .

We will never forget this wild
opening of our hearts