Fall Hiking

In this yellow autumn, the girls and I hiked down through Sterling Gorge, a short hike above water tumbling through the narrow cut of rocks. At the trail’s bottom, the stream evened out, and sunlight dappled through leaves. The hike down had been chilly and somewhat dark, shadowed by hemlocks, but the spit of gravelly sand along the stream was light-filled. I had woken that morning feeling as though I had fallen down a flight of stairs, the bones in my back and hips mere pieces strung together with the jangling cord of my vertebrae.

I lay on a fallen birch log and watched sunlight flash in shapes over the running stream, thinking how we’re all just bits and pieces of bodies, water, sparkling sunlight, gritty sand, my own bones and flesh and flowing blood, ever moving, shapeshifting, evolving, turning from this to that.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

— Robert Frost

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Woodbury, Vermont