The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
In the beginning a riot of color, burnt umber, magenta,
madder red. Vast expanses of indigo. There was thunder
and the absence of thunder. There was heat, Earth shifting,
hills swelling, ridges rising. Then came the fingerlings,
the frogs, and dark-eyed juncos. Possum and hawk
and fox. There were buffalo, mountain lions. There were
slender legs of spiders and dragonflies. Mosquitoes trapped
on salmon-colored salamanders’ flickering tongues. Black
bears lumbering through the underbrush. Speckled eggs,
beavers, fire ants. Night crawlers wriggling below, crows
cawing above, there was Earth and the fullness thereof.
We forded the river, the one named Euphrates, the highest
mountain, we called it Mount George, the one we crossed
over, Mount Spotswood. We numbered the trout and catfish,
the brooks they swam in. We tracked all species of fowl.
We blazed trails in the forest and left distinguishing marks.
The winnowing down of daylight, that was good. Once
two geese swooped in. He swam up and down the pond
fixing his amber eye on me. She tucked her head beneath
one wing. Stars were our faithful companions, and we drank
to their health, as we did to the King and the rest of the Royal
Family. In this way we cleared the path to today.
It’s hard to think of home without the hawthorn and the scat
of deer and mole. It’s hard to think of fall without the sight
of scurrying squirrels packing nuts into their cheeks, fearing
humans less than winter. It’s hard to think of me without my
hound, my hound, heaven’s staunchest ally. It’s hard to live
on this land without hearing sounds of all sorts of creatures, all
digging out toward light, or burrowing within, breathing deeply
of the darkening night. To love a place is to love where you are,
to know it is beyond compare, the air, the scent, it might as well
be skin, it is to touch, be touched by everything in the surround,
to feel at one yet fully other in this diverse dominion.