nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

trampled grass on a flat-topped hill

with 2 comments


I change the spaces I enter, even when I enter only for a moment.  I am an intruder.  I am certain feet have scurried into hiding just as I arrive.  Sounds have ceased.  Scents and tastes have been altered.

Once in a while, my difference can be disguised.  I can enter before the space can know I am there.  If I am quiet, if I walk softly, some agent will help me pass through the veil and remain unnoticed, just long enough to see and hear and taste the true essence of the place.  Often, the generous agent is the wind.

It was a favorite hike, an old cart track winding up the side of a dome-shaped hill in the Elkwater Lake area of the Cypress Hills in southern Alberta.  The hill had a flat top and a thick bristle of conifers along the sides.  On the flat top was a fescue grass meadow, a bit of prairie perched a layer above the mixed grasslands. 

a hill at Elkwater Lake ... coniferous woods and grassland on the same hill

The track was not much more than two ruts, worn into the grass.  It curved up the side of the hill, so the approach was gentle, gradual.  Then, abruptly, the hilltop.  If the wind was right, I could surprise the deer.  They yarded there, grazing the grasses, etching paths into the meadow.  

If the wind stayed in my favor, the deer would linger, chewing their cuds, watching me, but not registering my difference.  As long as the wind blew I could watch, but if it settled, my scent would reach the deer.  They would lift their heads and tails and be off in a few zigzag bounds. 

  

 deer yard

on a flat-topped hill

~

1.

below the hill is the distant prairie  

speargrass and grama grass

and the sweetgrass hills of Montana

~

the grass at my feet is different

fescues of the Cypress Hills

flat-topped remnants of the Great Plateau

untouched by glacier scour

~

2.

bless the wind

it sorts the grasses

lifts each hair

ruffles the limp and fine

~

wind nudges the stubble

the artist’s bristle

the tail hairs of the doe

the chop of fresh grass

~

her gentle cud

her watchful eyes

wind in the spokes

of the mule deer wheel

~

the trampled paths

a game of fox and geese

or the part teased by wind

into sun-blond hair

~

3.

if the wind takes a breath

if the grass or the hair 

settles on the shoulder

of the hill

she runs!

~

seeks the safety

of the downslope

downwind 

trees

~

4.

fescue

curious on this flat-topped hill

its rightful place

the ancient prairie

~

Published as: “deer yard on a flat-topped hill”, 2010, Canadian Stories 13 (76)

 

(revised)

 

© Jane Tims

deer on the grasslands of Nebraska (2002)

Written by jane tims

August 28, 2011 at 8:11 am

2 Responses

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  1. Very evocative!

    Like

    Watching Seasons

    September 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

  2. I change the spaces I enter, even when I enter only for a moment. I am an intruder. I am certain feet have scurried into hiding just as I arrive. Sounds have ceased. Scents and tastes have been altered.

    Nice opening Jane. I can eat this stuff up because it feels like it’s right up my alley, as familiar as my gardens.

    bless the wind

    it sorts the grasses

    lifts each hair

    ruffles the limp and fine

    Excellent.

    `Denis

    Like

    JD

    September 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm


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