An Autumn Walk by James Benger

Behind the houses

And past the chain-linked fences

With the barking dogs and above-ground pools

There is an infinite row of

Impossibly tall pines

And as you walk between the trunks

Smelling December and feeling January

Under your feet

The sun begins to fade

But as you walk past the pines

You can rest assured the sun is still there

And you will see it again


But for now – walk


There are more trees than numbers

Many are populated by birds or squirrels

The softness of the fallen needles

Gives way to the candy wrapper sound of brown leaves

It won’t be long until you see the

First miniscule sign that the sun

Is in front of you – somewhere

The white nothingness that the

Light teasingly promises propels you forward


Up to this point the terrain has been blissfully timid

But you come upon a valley at least ten feet deep

A small amount of unforgiving cold water

Saunters along at the inverted apex of the ravine

Luckily for you a tree has met the end of

Its life but not its usefulness

And it bridges the gap

Your legs are unsteady but the light ahead

Confirms that you will not fall

And you’re on the other side before you

Are aware you started


As the light becomes closer the birds and

Squirrels become fewer and the

Cotton-like pine needles return

To caress your step


And at last you reach it

The clearing

The light

Beyond it all – the light

And it is spilling itself on a single immense tree

One still blooming amidst all the

Year-end decay

You walk to the tree and touch its

Bark and a single blossom lands

At your feet


And in that instant the tree the sun and

You are the universe

~ James Benger


James Benger is husband, writer and student. His work has been featured in Comma,Splice,

Hoarding Words, Kiosk, Runaway Pony and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebook, Flight 776

is available from most digital retailers.He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.


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