Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Our Potomac river wonder

I am participating in the
Tuesday Slice of Life.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day.

A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

At first
it is simply a walk,
a walk along the canal.
I move onto the trail,
and the hike begins.
I notice
the bright blue of a dragonfly, 
the quick scurry of a lizard,
a gentle, soft breeze,
the dappled light 
between the tree branches,
the echo of our footsteps 
on the soft dirt trail,
the river alongside,
so many of us together.

Soon, the air grows more still, and
my footing becomes less certain,
dirt to mud to sand to rocks,
strong, mighty, craggy rocks.
My movements are slow and sweaty,
as I work my way through 
sharp, angled crevices.
My eyes are glued on every step I take,
watching my footing,
on and between the rocks, 
a quick look up,
to follow the light blue blaze markings,
and immediately back down,
to find my footing,
along a narrow irregular rocky edge.

it's cooler all of a sudden
what a beautiful overlook,
how high up I am,
above the river.

Hiking here is
rigorous work,
in loose gravel,
shifting sand,
odd footing, 
bend the torso,
lean in,
wet and rocky,
stifling hot,
sun bearing down,
brace myself - on a tree, rock, something,
be alert,
to my hands,
my feet,
how I tilt my body,
avoiding the sharp brambles,
the muddy pools, 
there's room for one foot only,
need to balance on the edge of rock,
maybe I'll take this part sitting,
then sliding,
need to step carefully, 
sweat is blurring my eyes,
push on,
push on,
push on.

I make my way
following the light blue blaze
and again notice
so much green, green, green,
a steady breeze,
the dark red brown needles of a dead pine tree
the murmur of cicadas,
the river alongside,
the chatter of hikers,
the path, once again,
clear and predictable.
I am back
along the canal.

Oh, sweet trail,
your rugged terrain,
surprising rocks,
extraordinary views,
make me think
make me think
make me think
The only thing that
you are 
our Potomac river wonder 
are the crowds,
in front of me,
behind me,
all around me,
everyone adoring
hiking you,
the Billy Goat Trail, 
on the weekend
in Washington, DC.

The Billy Goat Trail is located in Great Falls, Maryland, along the Potomac River, in the Washington, D.C. area.