Slowly, in a mist,
Lead by canine paws,
Walking the ancient trail that first was formed by the creatures of the wood,
to and from food or water,
Over stone and root, beneath canopies of young green leaves
Then trodden by men who hunted them,
A form appeared.
Having learned, as the hunted, to leave little trace it moved through the forest
Abandoning all trails and it was here that we met –
We on the trail
The form – navigating by heart.
In a vapor of cloud, in an aspen grove
The earth beneath us
It turned its head toward us and we looked at each other
With raised head it searched for my name
I was – boy
Excited and calm, adventurous and longing
To assuage the fear so long ago instilled
To speak the words without speaking that there was no need for fear –
That we were kindred.
Just then, a chipmunk scampered down a trunk and across my boots
A messenger likely sent to inspect my intent
And the form lowered its head
Turned and continued on its way, granting me passage
You are always welcome in this place
Come and stay with us a while
Climb over our rocks,
Drink from our springs
Cool in our shade
Warm in our sun
See your reflection in our ponds and never forget whom you see there.
You are one of us – boy
No matter where life takes you
No matter the years
You are to us – boy
And we will be here when you return
From your journeys, from your distractions
Waiting for you – boy
Here, you will cast off the forms you will take on when you leave – here
And you will be – boy.
To us, you – are.
Precocious, and tender shepherd.
We will wait for you – here
For we cannot follow where your desires will take you but dog knows the way back
And dog will be your companion
Dog will love you as God loves you
As we – love you
Dog will be your familiar
Dog will know your longings, your joys
You will come to know love through dog as you will come to know your greatest grief when dog, as is must
Returns here and waits for you.
We will wait for you here – boy
You will come back to us.
© Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Philip W. Viens 24 April 2016