Stoned

‘Why go walking?’ Wendy asks
And I admit,
While filling flasks and watching rain
Aslant the cloud beyond the pane,
I do not want to go.
But then I see
The larches burn against the pines,
The hoar frost silhouette the leaf,
The field lie crisp in furrowed lines
And deer tracks patterning the snow
Above the rough and brindled heath;
And I must go!

‘Why go walking?’ Wendy asks,
And I allow
While trivial tasks absorb my hours
And trifling skills deplete my powers
I do not want to go.
But then I sense
The warm and generous earth astir
The long imprisoned water flow
And glimpse the primrose by the fence,
And watch with awe the snowy hare
Take flight towards its bracken lair
And I must go.

‘Why go walking?’ Wendy asks
And I confess
When overwrought with fancied stress
And pressurised by compressed days
I do not want to go. ‘
But I suspect
The loch lies brown and deeply still,
And round the edge the sultry haze
Obscures the heron beating slow;
On sunbathed stones, the adders laze
And flimsy clouds caress the hill,
And I must go!

‘Why go walking’ Wendy asks?
And I concede
With thoughts of dirty socks and boots
And muddied clothes from head to foot
I do not want to go.
But then I need
To smell the dank and rotting leaves,
The chilling air and wooded smoke.
To smooth the beech mast’s hollow silk,
To watch the swallows flit the eaves
And squirrels stockpile round the oak;
And I must go.

‘Why go walking?’ Wendy asks
And I agree
That fifty brings its tale of woe.
With loss of breath and stiffening knee
I do not want to go.
But now I’m hooked,
Spaced out beside the rowan tree
Stoned by the rumbling, peaty brook
High on the hills and distilled air,
Turned on by friends, in ecstasy
Induced by laughter, love and talk
And so I walk!