Adirondack Morning Meditation
by Gloria Heffernan

Eight women tread a late summer trail.
Pine needles and moss muffle our steps.

We have made a pact.
No talking for this one sacred hour.

In the distance the burble of a stream
penetrates the thick-barked bank of trees.

A woodpecker taps out his own Morse Code
while a red squirrel translates from a birch branch.

We tap each other’s shoulders pointing mutely at
a bouquet of red-tinged mushrooms blooming

in a twist of pine roots like a fist full of peonies,
poisonous probably, but lovely in the morning light.

At a bend in the trail, we linger on a footbridge
listening to dragonflies darting past our ears.

How hard it is to swallow the sound of awe
as it rises in our throats.

Originally published in Nine Mile Magazine, Fall 2018

PHOTO: Two dragonflies by dreamstime.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “Adirondack Morning Meditation” after leading a poetry retreat for a group I lead called Poetry as a Spiritual Practice. It was a joyous challenge to simply take in and be present to the beauty that surrounded us without comment or distraction. Six years later, we still meet regularly to write, read, listen, and explore.

gloria h

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gloria Heffernan is the author of the poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List (New York Quarterly Books), and Exploring Poetry of Presence: A Companion Guide for Readers, Writers, and Workshop Facilitators (Back Porch Productions).  Her two chapbooks are Hail to the Symptom (Moonstone Press) and Some of Our Parts (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in over 100 publications, including Columbia Review, Stone Canoe, and Yale University’s The Perch. Visit her at gloriaheffernan.wordpress.com.