Jeffrey said to meet him here at the sawed-off brown fence I am sitting on. It is the
entrance to his father's farm, and I have been in this country two days without
meeting his father. The fence is biting holes in my jeans where they are worn from
scraping along on hard floors with my sister's son. I am tired and small. Smaller than
I have ever been. When I turn my back to the house, the world grows as quickly as
Alice, and I am a dime on the forest floor. The fir trees and evergreens -- so large at
home, so large to me -- are dwarfed here by the earth itself, the high mountain
shoulder where the ground reaches up to God. Oh, I am small. I am from a place
where man can build things that dwarf the landscape. Here, the landscape laughs.
The clouds make a monk's collar on the mountain top, and the wind whispers, no,
it chants through the branches in a steady drone that enters my elbows and makes
them weak in the echo. How could you build in a place like this, whose looming beauty
undoes everything you do? I want to ask Jeffrey, no, I want to ask his father, who plied
the boards behind me into a house so close to the forest the wood was drawn from.
Did he offend nature or honor it with this formation.
Back in the city, nature is something to go back to, to save, to overcome in
ourselves. Here it breathes through you, assaults your senses, your sense of self.
Does the old man even notice? Does he look up when he walks to the faded well?
Does it give him pause, make him lonely, shake his senses? Or has he accepted
his relative size? Jeffrey says he is a big man, his father. Big like this mountain?
Big like the sky?
© 2020 Deborah Edler Brown
Bio: Deborah Edler Brown is an award-winning poet, writer, journalist and author. Her work has appeared in a range of publications, including Nimrod, So Luminous the Wildflowers, poeticdiversity, Altered Lanes, Blue Arc West, and Sisters Singing: Blessings, Prayers, Art, Songs, Poetry & Sacred Stories by Women. Her poem “Cubism” won Kalliope’s Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Prize, and her fiction has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Deborah was born in Brazil, raised in Pittsburgh, and earned her degree in Creative Writing from Brown University. She resides in Los Angeles, where she is busy building communities among her characters and readers.