The Color of Ground
Below your feet, the pine needles crinkle beneath your feet.
rich, brown, the droppings of the white pines above your head.
This is the color of ground.
When you were young, you walked barefoot,
against all admonishments, through the woods,
wallowing in the living ground beneath your feet.
Even now, the sight of brown needles on the ground make you young.
Walk far enough into the forest, you find beds,
settling places for the white-tailed deer,
safe places for the night.
Walk far enough into the forest, you find silence,
noise absorbed by the needles above and below.
The noises in your head, the voices, critics and raging too, are absorbed.
They leave you falling to the earth, rising to the sky.
And you find peace, surrounded
by the color of ground.
About this poem
The picture was taken in Surry County, Virginia, where my grandfather had a farm surrounded by forests of white and loblolly pine. As a boy and a young man, I often walked through the forests, barefoot. There was a peace in it, a peace I still feel whenever I am in a pine forest.
Peace is a rare commodity in today’s world. It’s good to remember it.