We head toward the peach orchard,
the one we found midsummer
at the edge of town, past the ... [+]
by the pine scent, and you
almost smile as we climb
from the car, saying,
"It smells so good
here." I agree, notice
how thin your face looks now,
and how your jeans used to be
much fuller. We've had
a severe year, without pause
in the trenches, and I can feel
the strain in your teeth and shoulders:
those shoulders your parents
taught to hide from confrontation.
You need three days
to relax, after countless doses
of forest medicine, administered
one dropper at a time.
At the waterfall,
I have trouble parking the car
and it reminds you of
your other problems, all
the angles you can never reach. Still,
you steer in reverse, into a parking
spot, and we walk uphill
until the road swallows us whole.
We return to our sanctuary.
The previous day, we
climbed much higher, to Artist Point,
followed the switchbacks
and watched two young boys
run downhill through boulders,
as if falling were impossible.
We know stumbling
is inevitable, and we walk
gently through rubble, gaze
at blue-plated lakes, shiver
as fall arrives. The glacier recedes,
but the chill moves in harder than ever.
Later, we drink wine, watch
a sixteen year-old movie: two bodies
curled together on a plaid couch
beside the Nooksack. The years
rage by like angry water, and we
fail to pay attention. We must
be taught to remember.