Spirit, in Place

Spirit, in Place

Bluffs and streams surround me.
Those who like to think themselves
native to this place when its indigenous
people were eradicated from the state
long before Roundup was even remotely
considered a hazard to a biology that would
include them if they were still here,
like to think it’s part of the Ozarks,
even if it’s a bunch of foothills to the north
with bluffs scattered here and there.

As for those bluffs and streams,
I walk trails that skirt them, cross them,
offer great views of them. Or I float
the streams, sometimes right beside
those bluffs, taking in the beauty
they hold in an eagle carrying a fish
to its nest, or an aged cedar clinging
to a hundred foot cliff, or a green heron
at the foot of that cliff watching
for a fish the eagle may have missed.

Will I ever consider myself a native,
when my mind always goes back to
the blue water of lakes that were great
long before I knew them, or a river
that flows from one lake to another,
rushing over a cataract midway,
or land that lies flat before it meets
mountains that aren’t afraid to be called
foothills of the Alleghenies?

When there is spirit of place in both,
where I witness both peace and struggle,
where I can try to forget my own struggles
and become a part of the peace
that surrounds me, is there any difference?

This is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: SPIRIT OF PLACE, where Brendan asks us to “write about the spirit(s) of place where you live and have your being in.”

23 thoughts on “Spirit, in Place

  1. You live in a beautiful place, such breathtaking views……..I lived vicariously hrough your poem, watching eagle, heron and fish. I could almost hear the roar of the rapids. Glorious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The spirits that resonate here arise from the rich detail, the devotion and witness you offer. It transforms place from a local bus-station into a thriving church. well done, and thanks –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand the complex relationship to place you describe here. I feel it to as a descendant of colonial settlers in Australia. Place calls to us and we hear whispers of the land that once was. We are part of it but somehow we don’t really understand it in the way the indigenous people do.

    Liked by 1 person

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