The Anniversary Gift

On a steep trail in the National Forest,
Deep in a remote area of Crawford County, Arkansas,
I pushed off hard to make it up over
The tangle of large rocks on that stretch.

So focused was I on my feet that I failed to see the branch
above.
The crack of my head on the branch knocked me back,
Back into a slow motion timeless fall
Where I seemed to drift.

While my body tried to find its balance
My mind raced ahead, enumerating my options,
Hoping for a miracle on a hillside
strewn with loose rock.

It was soon clear that the hope of
Regaining my balance was overcome by
The reality of tumbling backward
Head first down that slope.

Then, it was over.
I was still upright, more or less.
He had reached out and caught me.
With his hands under my arms, he put me back on my feet.

I rubbed the knot on my head,
While we talked and blamed
My ridiculous huge sunglasses for
Obscuring my view of the branch.

As we walked on I couldn’t stop thinking,
He caught me.
How many times, in how many ways, over how many years
Has he caught me?

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Lynn Packham Larson

Lynn lives with her husband in a house that he built, where the edge of town meets the edge of the woods. She was raised in a big city, and now finds peace and inspiration walking the dog and hiking the trails near her home. The birding is wonderful, trees abundant, water plentiful.

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