When sudden fog shrouds Shoreline Trail’s far vista,
I pause at the fork that veers south, aware of the odd
juxtaposition, sharp foreground vision, near-blindness for distance.
The curtain descending brings a prick of adrenaline,
though what is close remains clear:
a raccoon’s palm print silhouetted
in sweet and sour muck, nails keen-edged as if Audubon
sketched in the mud; the woody veins of marsh cane
splayed open at storm-broken joints; the wing of a red winged blackbird
preternaturally red against plain vanilla backdrop.
What was distant has vanished,
only glimpsed before veiled:
a solitary sailor drifting
in a rickety dinghy; the lone fisherman casting
at the end of the pier; a grandmother wading
the shallows, painfully bending
to spot driftwood worth keeping.
The loon who flew over at the start of this journey
is lost in the white-out too,
though his piercing call tells me he’s there,
working his stretch of brackish water,
dipping and searching, sieving the mixture
of fresh and salty. His minor-key cry
sounds lonely, but perhaps, I personify.
I climb from rugged trail to railed boardwalk,
decide to trace my path backward to the carpark.
How easily I’m divided from others,
encounters with strangers avoided,
though surely they too are seekers
of nature’s companionable presence.
How quickly I pivot from the way ahead,
a timid child who could pin
the tail on the donkey, split the piñata,
if only she’d tilt her head skyward,
slip the blindfold, move forward
toward what is, after all, not a wall,
but a cloud made of air, nebulous, temporal, easily parted.