Summer, Waking

          (Solstice 2002)

          When silence falls
          in the forest,
          will the trees finally
          speak to us?

For a week these sunlit spaces between pines
          on the hillside
and these shadowy ones among the rhododendron
          down in the creek bottom
have gradually filled with a chorus of voices,
          men's rough jokes,
women exchanging news, the age-old
          excitement of children –

New noises arrived one by one
          to syncopate
the tranquil chamber music of the stream:
          an arhythmic ringing
of hammers on stakes and axes on logs,
          the occasional
rising ecstasy of drums or finger-picking
          across the quiet
as a village of tents sprang up like toadstools
          under the silent branches . . .

          Solstice dawns,
          silence falls,
          and at last the branches
          begin to speak

          In whispers at first,
stirring in the least hallucination of a breeze,
          stretching luxuriously.
as the sun climbs – but the more
          we hush ourselves to listen,
the louder the trees are rustling, till at last
          we begin to hear
the deep, ancient undertone
          of the mountain itself –

          In our silence
the creek becomes a choir
          a thousand voices strong,
all perfectly on key:
          the glitter of mica in the dirt
reflects the blueblack flicker of dragonflies
          as we walk the trails
of morning,
          of summer,
of the long journey home to planet Earth