The Trail Companion
- Kiana and I climbed the mountain today behind
Drawn up the steep ravine by autumn sun, to the
fire road along the ridge. Golden leaves from maple
and birch mixed with the reds and purples of poison
oak, fallen embers on an earthen hearth. I soak up
the last warmth around me, taste sweetness on the
Kiana sees her first, the fox's disguise an uncanny
stillness. She lies in the middle of the road,
sunning herself. Bold.
She rises slowly before she springs across the
road, spins around. Heading straight for me, last
minute veer under brush falling down. A distempered
jerk where the sun hits the ground. She lays there
panting, hard, all her energy spent in that one mad
dash to through off the hound. She should be up a
tree, down a hole.
I could simply reach out and touch. Frozen, we form
a triangle - the fox, the dog and me.
Eyes so steady, above pounding chest. She appears
to have no fear. Nor hate. It is not easy to face
the fox, even as she looks at me. She does so
fixedly, freed from the obviousness of the world
that drills and drums at me all hours of the day.
Our gazes are locked: primal, predator, prey.
Silence seems to echo down to present time, gives
me a shake. Not yet, not us.
Gunn is an artist and poet residing in west
Marin County. She is on the Board of Directors of the
Marin Poetry Center, has read her poetry to local
audiences and has been published in local poetry
newsletters. Kiana, the dog, and Brenda frequent the
hiking trails of Marin and live as much as they can
in the great out-of-doors.
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