I wrote this poem a number of years ago, but reworked it a bit recently.  To me it clearly falls into the category of praising creation, as the Psalms do.  This piece is my modern take on that form.




Natural Epiphanies

Among the smokestacks, buildings,
pollutants, steel, 
of my childhood town
God was an abstraction,
impenetrable.

But camping in wild hills
of white tails and hemlock
I could feel God's glory.

The stretches of wild blackberries and huckleberries,
The shimmering aspen leaves,
The coy May apples under their umbrellas,
The delicate sassafras leaves in their threefold variety,
Black-eyed Susans, lacy Queen Annes,
Grasshoppers dancing ahead while we walked.

The profusion of it all — 

Raccoons seeking refuse
Newts under rotting logs
Groundhogs waddling beside dirt roads
Wild turkeys raising a ruckus in the brush
A bull snake, crushed and broken on the road,
Her eggs exposed for us to see
Spiders in their webs in the corners of outhouses.

Here I could imagine a god
using these places as a palette.

At my first camp job,
I escaped the children and routine.
My blaze orange poncho glowed, 
rain dripped on my glasses.
I moved through an impressionist painting.
Light trickled through leaves
Wet grasses brushed knees
Brambles grabbed at sleeves
Low branches swiped at my face.
Until —  suspended in time, rooted in place — 
Poised, we stared at each other
Breathless, that instant captured us
Knowingly, our eyes shared understanding

Then the deer bounded off.
I was alone, connected.

Now, deceptive stillness 
fills the urban yard.
Snow covers brush piles
Pine branches fill with snow
Oak limbs create abstract patterns 
of hoar frost in the sky.

But life spills out with of a shimmer of sun.
Chickadees, feathers puffed for warmth
Squirrels, scavenging acorns
Blue jays, on alert
A grey rabbit, peeking through shrubs
A cardinal, singing flamboyantly
Snow-suited children, exploding with energy.

Here too, amid the trees,
I seek the ineffable — 
on my face, I feel the wind
bringing me
to what is.

(c) Lydia A. Schultz 2017