Silver River Trail
Early summer morning, easy hiking, on the Sinkhole Trail,
Silver River State Park, Ocala National Forest,
A couple of miles away
From the world-famous glass bottom boats.
I am feeling grateful for my legs, the scrub pines, and
The little silver plaques to read,
Extolling the virtues of Grey Fox, Black Bear, Coral Snake,
and White-tailed Deer.
Not having seen anything livelier thus far than a deserted cracker village,
Spanish moss, and a spider web,
I lament being the kind of guy who never sees the cool animals,
Natureıs movie stars of trail literature and brochure still photography.
But look there! Mere nanoseconds after conjuring this baleful thought,
Two utterly lovely whitetails bound gaily across the path.
I gasp with instant, simple happiness, and imagine them
As a mother-daughter duo out for a morningıs berry picking,
Although Iım more than happy with two middle-school friends,
A sister-brother combo on a good day,
Or even some newly reunited cousins.
Thatıs the whole trouble, isnıt it?
Knowing who's who, and what's what?
Even more elusive than a deer: knowing who you are?
Inspiring moments involve Spirit, and Spirit has many names,
So I try on some new Spirit Names:
"He Who Hardly Ever Saw Animals in New York."
"He Who Saw Two Deer, Finally."
"Surprised, Formerly Dubious Black Bear."
How about "Bounding Deer". the surely apropos choice?
Rejected. It feels like pilfering the deerısı identity
Stuffing and mounting them by semantics.
In short, bad medicine.
I linger over fresh cloven hoof-marks on the sandy trail.
Resuming my pace, adding mundane sneaker prints to the trail,
Wending through shady lanes,
A chant burbles upward from within:
The one about waking up, listening, and seeing
The unity of all things,
Hidden behind the multiplicity.
Apparently, this is who I am.
©2007 by Eric Diamond
Eric Diamond is a new poet, psychologist, and men's work leader,
living in Gainesville Florida. Major influences are Robert Bly, Tony Hoagland, Bob Dylan, Persian poetry, myth,
and archetype. His poems have appeared in Poetry Harbor, New Warrior Journal, Taj Mahal Review, and Slow Trains.