On the way to Elk Creek Falls
Two gate posts still stand almost
a hundred years later in the green darkness
where the hill curves under the weight
of the wet woods, and the smooth, wide
path is no longer rutted by wagon wheels.
We stop to listen for the sound of voices
of children like our own, for the sharp clatter
of rulers, the softer scratch of chalk,
quick spurts of juice from apple skins
rolling down as teeth sink in.
We stand still looking, our gaze traveling
sixty feet and more up the wrinkled trunks
of trees rooted among ferns where the schoolhouse
once stood, traveling up through time.
Tiny and wild, purple orchids peek from the shadows
of the leaves at our feet. The soft light sifts,
shifts, and leaves. We hear the rain falling.