All in the Mind


All in the Mind

Pretend you don’t know that more than two miles
of trails are tightly wound within just one hundred acres,
a jewel of sorts within this not-so-urban city, the capital
of a mid-West state, that the sight of deer
or turkey crossing your path, is not unusual,
or that a hundred feet are all that separate a savanna
from a hillside populated with hundreds-year-old oak trees
on one side or bottom land growth on the other.

Feel daily morning walkers on manicured trails
brush past you at a calorie-burning pace,
eyes straight ahead, unaware –
or perhaps long-forgotten to them –
that each area is managed to demonstrate
the various habitats and the bio-diversity found,
and in many cases disappearing, within their state.

Be thankful for the butterfly on milkweed,
the turtles sunning themselves on the pond’s shore,
the snake climbing within a lightning-hollowed oak,
the texture of that oak’s weathered bark,
or the coyote peering from tall grass, all waiting
for your camera to capture their subtle beauty.

Find the words to describe all of this.

This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: WILD MIND,
where Brendan asks us,
“How does green fire take root in the thought of our poems?”

I’ve written about the Runge Conservation Nature Center (Jefferson City, Missouri)
in blog and poetry before. Here is one with photos.


Shared with Open Link LIVE — February Edition at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.


49 thoughts on “All in the Mind

  1. Many people pass through the day without seeing any of it. I love your last stanza, down to the coyote who is being slaughtered mercilessly with no limits. Good thing they are resilient and will probably outlast man. Sometimes words fail us but you’ve proven otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It’s ironic that the purpose of the park is to remind people of what they have, but some just don’t see it. School buses come here, usually with grade school children (there’s an interpretive center in addition to the trails), so that’s a good thing.


  2. I really enjoyed your poem. You capture these times and the little bits of wildness left for those with open hearts and eyes. The way you describe those fitness walkers is great. They dominate the walks around here too. It’s good to think of them as unseeing. They carry on like the own the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you found the words beautifully, especially your closing stanza. I walked through a forest we are trying to save this morning, as encroachment marches steadily on, omniverous. When does it end? Will it ever? Where will the wild ones go when there is no green left?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You did find the words here …. Walking with a wild mind (or for it) is not resource management (power-walking for benefit without taking notice of all the wild nourishment everywhere) but training the mind to act like the world. You are fortunate such meandering trails exist where you live, though really they are anywhere we declare them. My walk to the lake in this town and back through older suburban neighborhoods is a forest when I surrender to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate the way in which you invite us readers to observe the world around us. I could not help but also imagine while reading not just the real world, but also the way the biomes are generated in minecraft.
    The ending stanza flashes some beautiful imagery too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is incredibly gorgeous writing, Ken! I especially love; “Be thankful for the butterfly on milkweed, the turtles sunning themselves on the pond’s shore.” Yes! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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