Passing Signs

I hike the Smoky Mountains, that misty purple

roller coaster laced with silent reminders

of life before, layer upon layer rising into

this ancient forest. Ochre pervades my pores—

pigment of ancestors, formed of iron oxide

hurled from the planet’s core.  It is early autumn

and I am ochre, searching for magnetic north.

I feel ghostly markings along this trail, maps

I cannot read, illusive blueprints to tell

a traveler where to turn left or right, where

to find water or a place to rest for the night.

I am red ochre lines on a rock. A stacking

of stones, branches crossed beside the path.

Signs to say:  Others were here. Go this way.

I am handprints on an ancient cave wall,

a squiggly line, a series of dots made

in charcoal from a safe fire’s embers—

an affirmation in ash, that a soul, like me,

once journeyed here, then moved on.

Cynthia J. Lee

Mountain Tapestry-email

Mountain Tapestry (16 x 16, Oil, cold wax, marble dust, mica flakes on wood)


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