From up here the valley makes perfect sense,
a performance piece starring time and weather.
With wind as overture, sunlight begins to swell
and all we need to do is wait until the fog lifts.
The eye cannot help but wander as a patchwork
rush of colour and form unfolds. Out of the dark,
carved hillsides spread above long sweeping curves
of vanished river, a crumbled bank where Ash Swale
sinks beside the cemetery, swaying tips
of second-growth Douglas fir, and criss-cross
patterns of winter wheat and rape. In the near
distance is a fresh gap where two old oak fell
during a long December night of ice. A breeze
mimics movement of deer west to east across
the ridge just beneath our swollen winter creek.
The grass is littered with leaves. Every detail
is now revealed but the whole scene comes clear
only if you look away and then look back. Observe
how it is possible, in dawnlight and early frost,
to see from here the drift of a farmer’s fence,
crisp rows of his young cottonwood trees
planted as a hedge against future loss,
and the random gleam of water that holds these
geometric shapes of hope and faith together.