1-Liter Hike

by David Richards

Leave the windows rolled down,
follow roadside impulse and climb
around bends, you know what’s waiting.
Nature keeps her promises.
Here, nobody knows how often
you think about yourself. Trust
intuition, it makes generations.
Curiosity didn’t stop, you did—
to count the rings of a friend
growing outward and down,
the forest is becoming the tree:
insects burrowing, fungi fruiting,
home to big things in small bodies.
Nobody made you do it;
you were made to do it.
The ravine walls tell the story
of flash floods and drought
and home builders in the brush
who built this trail by consensus.
When the Narrows flooded, a human
chain passed toddlers to stranger’s
hands; all escaped the mud.
At half a liter, you can push
a little farther. The stars are spinning
up there, you’ll see them if you wait
for the sun to settle. Every new telescope
shows us more universe, but they don’t show
the stars Van Gogh painted—poets
linger longer, haven’t finished watching
the moon rise on grass fields, birds
burrow under night’s watch.
I bet nobody told you
you could do this. They showed
you videos of the tourist
tossed in the air by a buffalo
(it’s actually a bison, but don’t worry about it),
told you about Gretel as if to say
don’t go there, but Gretel brought
Hansel home. When you step
out of the car, you make little
mistakes, trip or get winded.
It takes time. Give it time.

David Richards is a writer and software developer. He lives with his family in the Utah desert. His work appears or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Nurture, UCity Review, and Indianapolis Review. You can find him online at davidrichardswrites.com

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