The Bottom

When you step off a city bus

In Sellwood
on a bright October day
leave the sidewalk
pass through upright poles
stand in sunlight
gulp water from a fountain

that’s when you know you’ve stepped
out of the world you know
off the grid
out of the race

And into stability
into connectedness
back to the Earth

A world living

As you descend
your feet treading down a slope
moving in space
bearing right for bikes

Your body awakes
senses ignite
skin registers sunlight
nostrils welcome fecund
leafy inputs
tongue tastes rosehips
ears perk at a Chickadee

And you know
know WELL
bone deep

you’ve returned.

This is Oaks Bottom, where the Earth still sings
where life still dances
once a heap of garbage
now reborn
as you are

walking in her.

As you walk, look, listen, taste, talk
you learn her language
feel her rhythm
louder than your heartbeat
gentler than a kiss

You come to treasure
each gift
each bit
she chooses to reveal

Each leaf rubbed between fingers
each Cedar Waxwing spotted
each insect heard
each tree, each bush
in your path

And you are led
into peace
into life
into belonging
into your best self

set free.

Across pavement
past fences
along trails
she leads you

To her best and favorite spots
for you
that a dozen souls may by

But which for you
are magic
for you
are trysts

Wombs where your soul
can gestate

And when you reach the river
suddenly there
beyond trees
growing up like windowframes

Flowing down below you
the river that remembers
the river that never ceases

Like an artery of a great heart
sometimes sick with poison
but flushing toxins
through the veins
until the body is pure

once more.

This river
spread before you
and the cottonwood
at your side

These are the companions
like long-lost kin
who greet you
whisper to you
allow you

To fall into absolute


For three whole instants
until you remember
to think
and forget once more
to feel.

And when you raise your voice in song
to greet them in return
then you know
you will remember
that this is real.

And trudging back
up slopes
toward sidewalk, and streets, and buses

You find the concerns
of that world
rushing in
filling brainspace

Pressing on you
Like pressure on your bladder
Unable a minute longer
to keep their peace.

Maybe those few hours
Are all your stressed-out
knotted up
coiled-spring soul can stand

of true being

But Oaks Bottom still is
and still knows
and she’ll remember for you

Until the next time
you find space in your rushing rhythm
to cease your forgetting
still yourself

and descend.

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