Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Cool, crisp air nips at my face, as I start
from the trailhead by the visitors’ center.
My feet know the way, finding their rhythm
step by step. Sometimes the bones of my life
feel heavy, but in my heart along with sinew,
muscle and blood, there’s a receptor
that connects me to this land
and those who came before me.

A short way on the Twin Barnes Loop,
nature’s rock star perches in the afternoon sun
at the very top of a pine tree.
I use my binoculars to watch the bald eagle
slowly lift off. He holds his wings almost
completely flat rarely flapping and soars
higher than any other bird. Wonderstruck

I continue, the path winds through wetlands
where ducks paddle around in emerald-green algae
that looks like the surface of another planet.
Further along, a blue heron stands motionless,
so busy with his own happiness.

The wetlands give way to forest, light and shadow
dance across my skin. Here branches overlap
like fingers folded in prayer. I look up at the sun
shining through gold and yellow leaves
a stained-glass window in nature’s cathedral.
The moment so wide and so deep.

I come to the wood plank boardwalk
jutting into the marshland a full mile—
an out-stretched arm reaching toward
the depths of Puget Sound. I feel an ease
in my body as I walk the length
to the viewing platform. I take pleasure
in the long trough of silence
to eavesdrop as earth speaks to sky.

 
Pat Phillips West

Her poems have been published in various journals including Haunted Waters Press, Clover, a Literary Rag, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.  She is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.

Banner image courtesy the poet.