To Stretch the Legs

Five men hike through

back woods of

Morgan Monroe State Forest

in the winter warmth 

of late December.

 

Men connected through

education and current

teachers on separate paths,

 

Men, agreeably disappointed

in the red color

of their political state,

discussing solutions

to outcomes

for bad mistakes,

Men well versed in 

experiences brought upon

by their own commitments

and stuborness; 

causing each to have an

adventure worth weight 

in conversations.

 

A young man

emerging into adulthood

having over come

two forms of paralysis

in his short life:

first figurative

then literal.

 

A teacher on hiatus

whose Catholic faith

asked him to contemplate

the seminary

on a farm in Patagonia

when an ayahuascan infused ceremony 

placed him on a different path.

 

A bartender who taught

in Vietnam, 

and navigated the

North American river ways

from Broad Ripple, Indianapolis

to Bourbon Street, New Orleans.

 

A carpenter connected

by the warm waters of the Mississippi,

the frozen trails of Appalachia,

and the foreign tongues of South America.

 

And an avid outdoorsman,

whose stories of accomplishments

wrapped up in satirical antidotes

allow little desire

for touch screens

and synthetic entertainment.

 

The sun has fallen.

The hike is over.

 

And the fire illuminates

faces backed by

leafless trees

and the beautiful black

of a dark starry night.