The Drive North
The garage door closed, the drag of melancholy left behind.
To The River in brilliant sunlight,
grey macadam before and after me,
the sky blue when I look up,
the chatter of tires, the only voices heard.
The wind is cold, though not the cold of winter.
It’s an in-between day, this day of veils before the spring.
Near the suburbs, dull advertisements call out
the names of real estate agents, car dealers,
implausible taverns, and gospel churches.
Beyond Oneida Lake, yellow-browns color fields
of last year's matted stubble.
These lands are waiting - for farmers to sow new life.
Turgid rivers drain the hills and mountains to the east.
The grimy residues of winter lime the route and
northern borders of the woods.
Discards populate the roadsides and the slopes beyond
- plastic bags, cartons from McDonalds, cast off cloths -
recalling appetites of five months past.
The woodlands, without trillium, are ominous,
wet with runoff and tediously grey,
Green’s reserved for cedars and
public signs telling how far it is
to Adams and Gunn’s Corners.
Further north, old limestone houses, their broken beams
pointing without a point in all directions,
remnants, like the faded lives that built them, forgotten,
save for histories.
Further still, on the right, the city of my youth,
its prosperity gone, its heritage in decay.
I pass the turn to the army post where
young men learn to kill and die in foreign wars,
their widows and children, freed from love and harsh winters, return to
Tennessee, or Florida, or California, where they came from - or can go.
At last, after the county road, The River.
Seven miles wide where we encamp,
the passage for the ships still dressed with ice.
The water, bright and clear between the flows,
green-blue, and deadly if you fall in.
Soon, after the rains, these veils will lift, and
this stark world will astound us.
For what is hidden now by nature will erupt as spring,
as new-found love suddenly reveals itself
to those whom it will claim.