D      Days of making leaves
l             Looking into Bashō's pines
   Shading each other

Jim Bodeen
18 July 2014



—for Tim

This rock from the Naches River
has been calling for two years.
I run into it wherever I camp.
I sat on it first in water, and later
when the river went down. I turned it, 

edges softened by water and rock
and 50,000 years, maybe a million,
character ridged and deepened
by modesty and its way of sitting up
in water moving around it. Last year,

before winter, I thought
I’d let it go. Why did an old man
need another rock, after a lifetime
of wilderness witness? A kind of patriarch,
this stone, I could see family members,

mostly smaller survivors,
within a half mile of river walks.
That rock’s in the garden now,
an altar capable again,
of standing alone or complementing

others, which might be trees
afterall. Afterfall? When the river
went down in high summer,
I rolled it, carefully around
and between rocks that might scrape

and disfigure part of its skin-shine
adding to its beauty. I found myself
driving to it, inching it along
river bank, ever closer to my Sisyphusian
task which would stop me. And I left it,

my body broken again. I left it
in shrubs, propped but hidden,
14-feet from, and two body lengths
down, from the road. Not a good place
to leave heavenly light blown

from exploding stars. My son
at this time found himself walking home
over mountains where I would pick him up
coming to me on foot hiking the side of the road.
I couldn’t get it, and need your help

I said, after dispensing pleasantries.
More practical than I, with experiences
making transportation available
to those burdened as I am, limited
in external lifting, he knows how hard

those like me can make things.
He makes his life accordingly.
He lives on a mountain
and calls it a mountain.
He calls me his father, knowing

I could see this stone
crossing drainage and mountain range,
its thousand mile slide and tumble,
but couldn’t get it up the road. Knowing
I had no word for what to be done—

leverage foreign as tool or medicine.
I had asked to be useless.
Make me useless, Lord, in all things.
And so I was. My son did lift the stone
from its hidden place to the road,

and onto the truck bed. I can
take it from here, I said, grateful,
asking only, Do you like it? I do,
he said, both of us knowing
star power and invisibility.

Jim Bodeen
16 July 2014

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