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IT IS FINALLY SUMMER- A Poem by Jennifer Gurney


It is Finally Summer

Jennifer Gurney


After forty days of rain

It is finally summer


I hike to my lake

Reveling in the raindrops

Clinging to every leaf and flower

The sun shining strong

Glistening in every 

Tiny orb of rain

In a kaleidoscope

Of light

And color

And hope

As if nature itself

Is happy that

It is finally summer


I see the footprints

Of many

Different critters

Who have hiked before me

And left their signatures

In their footprints in the mud

Racoons

Deer

Rabbit

Dog

Birds

Horses

Many sizes of people

Layers of footprints 

Make it seem

Like they were all there

At the same time

A party of animals

On the trail

Happy that

It is finally summer


I slip a bit 

On the muddy embankment

Down to the lake

But catch myself in time

Before my jeans

Sodden to the knees

Are covered in mud

Like my old hiking boots are

I have to stop

Occasionally

To stomp off enough mud

To leave my boots free

To hike

At just this moment

I look up to see

A field full of wildflowers

Waving in the wind

Greeting me

On my hike

Many of them I have never seen before

Not just the fact that these are

A new batch of wildflowers this season

But the fact that I have never seen

These particular wildflowers before

Here

Or anywhere

Ever

In six decades of life

In living in various places

In knowing this field well

Remarkable

Unexpected

Enchanting


I cannot take enough pictures today

The hike is entirely

Different from any other

On this same path

That I have hiked

Often

Sometimes daily

Sometimes more than once in a day

For over four years


I hiked this trail

To this lake

As I healed from an 

Unexpected separation

From the love of my life

Four years ago

When I first moved near

This sweet little lake

Which was so tucked away

That I didn’t know it was even here

Until the day I moved in

And saw a flash of white 

Out of the corner of my eye

And looking through binoculars

While standing on my front porch

I saw a lake and

Pelicans!

I couldn’t have found any

Better surprise

If I had tried

That very day

I found my boots

And hiked this trail

To this lake lake

And fell in love

So I came back 

Time and time

Again

Through the seasons

Through the years

To my little lake

To heal

To grow

To thrive

And today

It is summer again

And I am here


I hiked this trail

To this lake

During the pandemic

While I was teaching virtually

And after we returned in person

While I was trying to process

All that we were facing

And then

As I healed from all

That we all endured

During the pandemic


I hiked this trail 

To this lake

When my Mom died 

Two years ago

Unexpectedly from pneumonia

Just three days

From her diagnosis to her death

And no closure

Because of the pandemic

And

Because she was medicated

For the pain

I am grateful

That she did not suffer

But I didn’t get

To say goodbye

As I healed from

This sudden and profound

Loss that was a body slam

That no one could possibly

Have prepared me for

And it was on this trail

That I spoke with her last

And so I also hike it

To remember her

I hiked this trail 

To this lake

When my Grandma died

One year ago

Expectedly

Since she was 104 years old

But so incredibly sad

Because she was my 

Grandmother

My godmother

My best friend

And I had been lucky enough

To have her all these years

And to see her every week

Except for the lock-down time

And so I hiked to heal

From this second wave

Of inexplicable grief


My husband

My Mom

My Grandma

Gone

Wave after wave of fresh grief

RIght before and 

Right during 

A pandemic

So much

The touchstones of my life

And so the lake

Became my

touchstone


And as I hiked this trail

To this lake

Through these

Most difficult times

I healed

By being among

The resplendent beauty

Of nature

And growth

And rebirth

And day by day

My journey became

Just a tiny bit

Lighter

Until the next wave

Of loss

And grief hit

But then I would

Come to the lake

To refresh

And to lay my sorrows down

And leave

A little bit

Lighter


So I know this trail

And I know this lake

Intimately

Probably better than

I know myself

Truth be told

I know the twists and turns

And bends and curves

I know the sound of the river

The way the sky shifts

When clouds roll in

The texture of bark

On my favorite trees

I know where the baby skunk

Came onto the trail once

Several years ago

The places egrets nest

And the best time of day

To see the pelicans

When they are fishing 

For a meal

I know when the river is full

And rushing

And when it’s a dry bed

Filled with leaves

Fallen

Slowly returning to the soil

To replenish the ground

For the next year’s 

Bounty


I’ve also seen the changes

That are not nature made

But change the trail 

And lake

In qualitative ways


I’ve watched

The beautiful barn being built

Set back from the trail

On the south side of

The lake

I loved hearing the hammers

Strike nails

As the walls were

Being set

And hearing the builders

Call to one another

From their high perches

As they laid on the roof

And now the horses

Walk the trail

Sometimes beside me

And on Christmas one year

One wore sleigh bells

That jangled from a distance

The sound muted a bit by the snowfall

That covered the trail

That covered the ice on the lake’s surface

That dusted the mountain peaks

In the distance



Jennifer Gurney lives in Colorado where she teaches, paints, writes and hikes. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including Glitterati Quill with Spark, The Ravens Perch, HaikUniverse, Haiku Corner, Cold Moon Journal, Scarlet Dragonfly and The Haiku Foundation.

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