from where we stand i see the woods is washed with the muted yellow color of goodbye
i trace the outlines of tree friends changing costumes
letting go of leaves
and scan the periphery for witch hazel flowers my favorite all of them are your favorite, but what’s especially special about witch hazelis that they bloom thin tendrils of yellow just aseverythingelse is falling apart
the cusp between bedrooms (the one I have now, and the one at the top of the stairs with a pink carpet that is recently empty, where i am camping out tonight)
the core of an apple, russet colored, on my empty plate
the quill of a porcupine, sitting on my shelf after our long day of tracking through the woods, which finally led us right up to its den in an abandoned culvert, in a stream, in a valley in the stand of hemlocks, and right up to its face staring back at us from deep inside the long dark tunnel after we shone a flashlight down it to see what we could see.
starting a new thing tomorrow i say to the jade plant on the table next to me and the bouquet of wildflowers in the mason jar and the leftover pound cake on a plastic tray that someone must have brought to the party on Friday and no one had finished eating since then
how it wouldn’t be a big deal, starting a new thing but also how many new things have i started. 3 different jobs. just in one year? 4 different homes. how many times will i pack up everything? not to mention the other countries, and my big (and heavy) red backpack, and all of the buses. last fall. then the (stillness and agitation of) winter. and then come spring i must have memorized at least a hundred
new names of kids that came through every week to learn with me in the woods of the berkshires
i call mw as i’m walking to find some woods around five o clock, and i leave a voicemail message for her that wanders and when i hang up i start singing one of her songs- not hers, but the ones that she taught me, the ones that we sang
together sitting on her couch in her
house in the prairie, a little less than a year ago when i rested my
travel weary body in her living room for 10 days to watch the colors change and the lake water turn cold.
ly loses her top front tooth in the somewhat sacred five minutes when everyone is actually quiet and journaling in their sit spots scattered along the trail after lunch and she runs to me from the shelter of sticks that she’d claimed since monday,
smiling with her hand outstretched
and there is a little bit of blood where she had been wiggling and wiggling. i tell her yes you can bring it inside and get cleaned up.
when we’re all walking out of the woods back to the classroom, h, who is also seven years old, looks like she is thinking very hard and tells me she is jealous of ly losing her tooth.
i tell her that i didn’t lose most of my teeth until 5th grade, but i’m not sure it’s a comfort in the moment
and i am left to wonder about the cravings of growing, even if it means
the coming apart of us,
shedding teeth like
a process of molting i’d forgotten i’d done.