Peace is joy at rest. Joy is peace on its feet.
― Anne Lamott

I deliberately walk a new path outdoors,
following blue blazes on sugar maples –
a trail of dirt, sand, gravel, mud, ice, or rocks.
I move at her pace and the world reveals herself.

An eastern wood pewee cries from the canopy.
Sandhill cranes bugle in a flattened cornfield.
A red-tailed hawk soars high above the marsh.
To the right, rustling leaves become a barred owl.

Trekking poles help navigate mazes of tree roots.
A day pack holds water, sunscreen, and first aid.
In February, layers of wool keep cold at bay
and lined boots crunch fresh footprints in the snow.

There’s a red oak tree that’s too broad to hug
and a stand of white spruce shaped like a runway.
Bear corn, a bubbly pine cone, hides in plain sight.
Clumps of maidenstears accent the fringe of the trail.

A smiling woman jogs with her English Springer.
Kayaking fishermen silently skim the river.
A future Eagle Scout clears a new trail spur.
Two artists capture wildflowers at the woods’ edge.

A wary red fox slinks across a quiet dirt road.
Peacocks meow and honk beside the vineyard.
Three hen turkeys waddle into a blueberry hedge
and an eight-point buck bounds from an old peach grove. 

Stunned by divine beauty in a new locale,
I saunter through nature, where my soul belongs.
A bracing breath of pine-tinged air fills my chest
and Peace, on its feet, joins me on the forest trail.

— Chris Clark, December 2022

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