The Old Stone Steps

The Old Stone Steps

The grass covered path to the stream

runs along the edge of an old growth

of hemlock trees, deep, dark green

and fragrant. The trees hug the rising

ridge and provide screen for the spur

of interstate they have scoured out

of its limestone top.  The locals quip

that they have managed to pave

the only spot in the county that is

sure for snow through mid-April, and

ride, as custom dictates, along the two

lane in the valley below.  A different

kind of craftsman has cut and lined,

with large flat stones, the last five yards

to the icy water, along a slope too steep

to balance on.  I have watched as power

shovels plowed the limestone from

the ridge this year and last, but can only

imagine the man who took the time,

some spring and summer, a hundred years

or more ago to pave the path so we might

walk down to this fine creek, with  rod and

rusted can of fresh dug worms, in easy comfort.

The acid run-off from the sleek new road

along the ridge has killed the trout that

once swam in number in our creek.  But

it is still a fine place to sit and dream in

the late afternoon, when the sun in the west

warms the very edge of the water, and

the splurge of that water about the gray

river stones is just loud enough to drown

the hiss of progress from the road above.

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