November Dog Walk

After school, if I can get out the school-door and home in time to catch the sunset, I take the dog for a walk through the woods. Dog-walking is one of my favorite things to do because it is so ordinary, so part of the ritual of daily life. And every dog-walking-day I see or experience something so exquisitely particular to the moment that it opens my heart.

I’m reading Matthew Zapruder’s, Why PoetryHe says this about stumbling upon poems when he was younger:

It was like plugging something into a socket, and electrifying my imagination, making me feel I was more aware, empathetic, thoughtful, engaged, alive.

Poetry makes dog-walking more meaningful; dog-walking makes poetry more possible.


November Dog Walk

That interminable gray. All day,
the temperature hovers around 40.
Water, not able to freeze,
also does not evaporate. This
liminal space.
Perpetual twilight.
A single crow caws. A last-leaf
flutters to the ground
from the red oak, a species
that hangs on
long past when others
have given up.
The sun, hidden all day, slides
under a crack at the horizon.
And suddenly,
the Indian grass glows
the blue-stem:

– steve peterson

On a shore in Minnesota a wind begins to blow

This poem came to me this summer as I was in northern Minnesota. A sudden wind came up, one that didn’t bring in a storm or anything dramatic, just a more than momentary breeze that brought with it across the water a sense that this big ol’ world is a living being that, like the trees, experiences life on a different scale than me.

I’ve been playing with this poem since the summer, which seems like a long time ago now that the late January cold has settled in.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

On a shore in Minnesota a wind begins to blow;

it rises across the water, then moves on
through the woods in no hurry, but also,
without a pause. Impossible to grasp,

even by the branches of the pine that line the shore,
or by waves, which don’t crash or spray diamonds
across the sky. Nothing dramatic.

Just now. On this shore.

Like the aspen leaves that quake will yellow
this autumn, replaced in the spring by fresh green.
Much change happens quietly, and bit by bit.

Erode. Accrete. Erode.

Like that face you see in the mirror has
a few more lines than you remember;
and that heart? A bit more wary.

A bit more aware.

– Steve Peterson