By Carol Park
My friend and I leave our suburbs for an old
freeway—Skyline Boulevard tops a ridge,
overlooking coast and cities. We whiz past
spreading oaks, moss hanging from their limbs.
We talk of close family—how
remote they’ve turned. A stretch of
firs slopes down. Then clouds of slate
froth, engulf their dusty green.
Fog hides our aches and doubts
churning deep—how to make
of midlife days some lasting art?
What comes at sixty? Parked,
we hike through chilly mist
on paths of needles, and look to
distant peaks—their forms soft today,
their blue like old, bone china.
“Poison oak—don’t let the red leaves
fool you,” says my friend. “Yeah,
I learned a decade back. Don’t you love
that madrone with its bark peeled far
back?” I pause to snap a photo
of pale underparts, ruddy protection
curling down. How much will I expose
my drooping heart? Pale rocks next
line our path—tiny and precise
as bricks set in symmetry—what expert
mason did it? I snag a chunk
for reminding—such unpredicted bounty.
Carol Park’s homes range from suburbs to wilderness. Six years in Japan altered this California girl. Hiking, gardening, mentoring and reading bring joy. She teaches ESL, writes and involves herself in Christian worship and service. Her MFA comes from Seattle Pacific University. The Haight Ashbury Journal, Black Fox Literary, MiGoZine, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Cider Press Review, the Monterey Review, Viral Verse: Poetry of the Pandemic, and New Contexts: 2 and 3 have published her work.
Carol's other work on Foreshadow:
Spiraling Songs (Poetry, May 2023)