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There used to be a trail
Through the woods
A shortcut I took often as a child
A shortcut I reveled in
A shortcut I made long in my memory
Long with dawdling, running, swinging from branches, climbing.
Deviating off the grid in transit
A right turn off the street through some bushes and through into
Emerald trees jungling thickly with summer, translucent leaves dappling sunlight through a thousand feathering gateways, letting almost no light touch the ground
Multicolored patchwork autumn fireworks, stinking of death and rot but somehow more alive that ever.
Through quiet black fingers reaching up through winter's white ground, my footfalls muffled into silence
And spring's teases of young life exploring renewal

There used to be a trail here
And now it's gone
Now, at this spot, it's only forest by the road and there is no path
Overgrown with disuse
Or maybe I just can't
See it

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I saw this poem on a Poetry In Transit card on the bus the other day. It needs a little background.

I grew up in Nelson. Nelson, while not being strictly farmland, has farms and communes and large tracts of land that hippies have claimed to make self-sustaining villages. It's either the last bastion of a forgotten movement from back in the day or a the pocket universe of a new beginning in a post-oil world. Time will tell. Maybe it's both.

I knew so many children with tanned skin and bare feet who had no problem with polygamy or drug use. Kids with names like Moonbeam or Frodo or Rainbow or Wolf. Children with learned parents and large libraries. There's a lot of pot in Nelson. Also some of the greatest skiing and mountain-biking in the world. There are people there with hand-knit clothes, dreadlocks and thousand-yard stares.

There was a girl in Nelson that I loved a few years back. She's getting married soon to a nice guy that lives there. She would never live down here and I'm not ready to go back to Nelson. While everything has probably worked out for the best, part of my heart is never going to recover. Or at least that's what it feels like sometimes.

So this poem really got to me.

From his book "The Village of Sliding Time"


I married the skinny girl
And our kids ran free as chickens.
One of them, the second boy
Moving along the ditches for days
Trapping muskrat and living on
Chokecherries and bulrushes
Sleeping by a little fire of sticks
Wrapped in his jacket, and we hardly noticed
He was gone until he returned
As someone else, burnt and smoky
His sisters silenced by the strides he took
To reach the pump, his hands
A mesh of little nick and cuts where
The cries of the animals had entered him.

David Zieroth

Maybe it's just me. It had the same impact on me that Michael Ondaatje's The Cinammon Peeler's Wife did but for different reasons.

What do you think?

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The annual January first Polar Bear Swim. I did not partake. Keep in mind that the some of these people woke up at seven to hike up the mountain so that they could be back in time for this as a finale. I think that might just fit the clinical definition of insanity.

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So I went up to Nelson last weekend to pick up my dad's estate, pack it up, and send it down here to Vancouver to be sorted through with my brother and stored.

Snowflakes made of neon that shock your tongue when you catch them.

I was playing Scrabble with my mom when I was up there and I swear to God through no fault of our own we ended up making a swastika. And yeah, apparently there is such a word as 'meed'.



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