by Mary Lauko
A weekday at a National Park, they pick a not-oft-used trail,
Down they head into the valley, alongside a stream winding its way.
The stream trickles and gurgles, small waterfalls appear,
Blue sky above with puffy clouds, down on lush forest floor patches of light dance.
They went to the basement of the lodge earlier, the only place that had a TV,
Mid-day thunderstorms of which the forecast spoke
Did not concern them much,
It promised to be a beautiful day.
Mother and two young sons on an adventure, to go see all the waterfalls along this trail,
Though mother injured and not walking with swiftness of her younger days.
She revels in the joy of her offspring as they walk, hop,
And marvel at the millipede slowly scrambling across the trail.
The sun shining through the canopy, soft warm breeze caressing their bodies,
Could this be anything but Divine?
Bathing in the air rich with the perfume of the forest,
Produced by the multitudes of organisms and their chemical processes.
They descend in the valley and no longer encounter humans,
Strangely the day no longer seems so bright.
Maybe it’s just the valley becoming darker as they continue,
In their quest to visit the waterfalls toward the bottom of the valley.
Then a thunderbolt is heard and a dark cloud appears,
Surprised, they think the adjacent valley might get a storm,
It’s too pretty here, can’t possibly have a storm,
And they continue down the trail.
How quickly the mountain changes, it is darker by the minute,
Wind is no longer a soft breeze and mother is worried.
Older son determined to continue to the next waterfall,
But mother turns back with younger son in tow.
She walks uphill as fast as she can, but the injury slows her.
Lightning and thunder are now in their valley and younger son his frightened.
She tells him to keep going and he runs ahead.
Thunder and now pounding rain he can’t hear her shout “slow down.”
He continues to run and disappears around the bend,
She cannot catch him, both children are out of sight.
She trudges uphill dispirited. How could she lose not just one but two?
And as she ponders rainwater cascades down her body filling her boots.
Undeterred by lightning she continues, where is the older one?
Something inside mother tells her things will be fine,
Lightning won’t strike us or the trees here, it’ll strike trees on the mountaintop.
Something keeps her calm, marching forward, in full faith, could this be Divine?
Older son now running uphill toward mother, he triumphed in reaching the waterfall,
Then hid under a big rock to shelter from the storm.
The downpour is less intense now,
She sends him up the trail to find younger brother.
Mother trudges and trudges in water-filled boots,
Finding her two sons waiting for her by the van.
They all hug and soothe the little one – everything is fine,
Mother still dispirited but sons say “we’re proud you made it mom!”
Could this be anything but DIVINE?