Gratitude Rock

Trails of dirt
that lead somewhere
or maybe not anywhere

in particular. A mountain peak,
a grove of trees,
a narrow canyon,
a river rushing. They’re always
 
there for me
when I need them most,
to cry
or scream
or sweat
or seek solitude, and listen
 
to the wind in the trees.
Trails were there for me
when I couldn’t shake
 
the pain of heartbreak
—but merciless they are not!
The trails taught me
what it means to be
 
cold,
tired,
scared,
in pain,
lost.
 
Struggling for speed,
endurance,
perseverance.
Feet dragging like lead,
tears of doubt and despair
that I wasn’t
 
good enough.
Trudging, struggling, suffering
until the rain came.
My labored breath giving
my heart strength, I started running,

The feeling of despair
dissipating.
Moving, grooving, reveling,
I found my rhythm,
 
striving, thriving, believing.
The unmistakable sweet aroma of
Umbellularia californica, lifting
 
my spirits. I rose up
the ascent and paused 
to reflect, relish the expanse.
At an overlook
 
above the rushing waters
of the canyon,
above the cliffs that loomed,
above the banks
—higher. Where I could see
 
beyond the next ridge
and the next, to the mountains
in the distant horizon.
I stood stunned, suspended on a rock
and I howled
 
as loud as I could into the wind
“Thank you friend!”