Where I Find Comfort

I pull on my boots and head west
following the moon that is yet to set
sink beneath undulating waves washing
north and south pushing at my legs
stealing my breath

here I find comfort within
this mass of yellow blooms tramping
through waste high and higher grasses
to discover a perfect hand of red
raspberries with a ripe one at the tip

here are hidden late September surprises
in the guise of a single perfect caterpillar
devouring a tickseed leaf or two butterflies
Buckeye and Wood Nymph floating by
to sample the surrounding buffet

as I wade deeper into goldenrod taller
than my head while everywhere I find
sunflowers named for the emperor, Maximilian
banked behind sumac going deep maroon
the flower I really came to hunt for flourishing

for only five weeks bridging late September
and October then disappearing into brown sameness
swaying as if forgotten with switchgrass and skeletons
of asters now burgeoning with white clusters and
the less hardy purples fisted in my hands

even as I bend to smell the rarer snow white
snakeroot’s tiny chalices nodding under the cedars
still too few to pick if they are to return next year
plucking only two stems of deep blue pitcher sage
bloom heavy and bent by this wind along

the deer trails I follow barely perceptible
save for the musky scent still lingering in whorls
where they bedded earthy odors mixing
with these fierce floral essences demanding
my attention and yes, gratitude

so that I breathe it in take it all to heart
and tuck it in the deepest corners those
crevasses that open so unexpectedly
on dark winter days when darkness drops
its mantle and threatens to overwhelm

here I take a hundred photographs
without a camera for some things are
too ephemeral to capture with a false lens
listen to the calls of late bluebirds
the susurration of leaves bowing stem strings
take comfort where I find it.

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