The heart knows precisely what it knows.
It keeps account of every known and unknown,
hard and tender bits of the puzzling whole.
It fuels and honors the momentary life,
its voice a harbinger of all that is to come.
This heart gives up stories and when it
whispers our autumn trek, I listen.
Each year brings a pressing down, plowing up,
turning ’round the pungent, rocky trail, a critical affair.
Switchback to a bridge over chasm, steps,
coming to the second bridge under which
outpourings of water are freed
from voluptuous earth: a torrent of beauty.
A gathering of benevolence and majesty.
The journey is late this year, yet is done
before winter stalls me further.
And so, Cynthia with heart: to a commemoration.
Twenty years since my intimate friend
crowded against every rib,
throttled my strong knees,
yanked me to gravity’s dominion.
The ruby blood circled throne of heart,
stuttering, pressuring, then decreed
Twenty years since I braced myself, crawled,
begged for release, half-stood, limped back up
a path of terror, leaned against Marc,
every breath a damnation, each step a warning.
Rescue came late, so much later,
and yet this heart and I carried each other
that far, then farther, farther yet.
I would not have it; this heart would take me back.
Or it would not know defeat; this heart wanted me back.
Today, like most years, the path is gentle
beneath my feet, and the small pumping muscle
and I sail up, around and over it.
To the bridge where water’s jazz erupts,
to the steps that nearly killed me, all the way up
and face to face with sweet Bridal Veil.
I tremble; heart flings open its gates.
O mighty waters above, below,
O Lord of heavens and earth,
I come to this wild altar of wonder,
my heart beaming, my life made right
with this water, these trees
At 51, I had a heart attack when hiking. How despondent it made me, but I worked to regain health. Last Thursday, I had a small heart event that kept me quiet for a day or so. But Saturday I hiked the path as I do every year near the date when I was felled. And I felt stronger; it always makes me stronger. Never take for granted the work of your gifted heart–how it keeps us wedded to this life, how it cares for us without ceasing–until we are done.