"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

From one branch to another

In the backyard,
worrying about the future,
out of the corner of my eye
a movement in the oak tree--
a gray squirrel moves
confidently along a limb
until it becomes a branch
then almost a twig
swaying from the weight
of the traveler.
He pauses before
considering which branch
in a neighboring tree
will be the new road
for his aerial journey
above man-made obstacles below
to whereever he is going.
Then he leaps,
his tail keeping his balance,
onto a slender branch
which sags from his arrival
but his sure claws grasp it,
and he moves on to firmer wood
until it becomes limbs and trunk,
the momentary interruption
and uncertainty forgotten
as just another part of the journey.

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