September 03, 2006|By Ted Kooser

Of taking long walks it has been said that a person can walk off anything. Here David Mason hikes a mountain in his home state, Colorado, and steps away from an undisclosed personal loss into another state, one of healing.

- Ted Kooser

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,

mist in the pines so thick the crows delight

(or seem to), winging in obscurity.

The ineffectual panic of a squirrel

who chattered at my passing gave me pause

to watch his Ponderosa come and go -

long needles scratching cloud. I'd summited

but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,

the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,

scattered among the locoweed and sage.

Today my grief abated like water soaking

underground, its scar a little path

of twigs and needles winding ahead of me

downhill to the next bend. Today I let

the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-2006. First printed in The Hudson Review, summer 2006. Copyright 2006 by David Mason; reprinted by permission of the author.

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