Life Story

I wrote this driving to plant sage in the Great Basin, in the cold early morning before the sun rose, after hearing my co-worker talk about a man who told her his life story at 3am that morning.

Life Story

It started under an oak tree
The glacier lilys in bloom
There was a little creek
They washed his feet in

Later on he was a hunter,
with one bad eye from a hurt in his youth
the left side of his body always injured in some way

At fifty he had known all the plants
The old women taught him their ways, where they grew,
how to
use them.
He had a vision
Everything in a big circle
The moon the same distance in width
As the sun is the same from the earth

He spent time alone in the hills in his 70s
Lived in a cabin with windows and doors open through his 80s

Life is said to go so fast
But in his 90s he watched the swallows every spring, and the little
bud tips of the plants just opening
The little leaves growing
Every day

I met him on a street corner in Oregon
He saw me watching leaves fall
And autumn colors on my shirt

He died in a quiet bed
“The purpose of life,”
He told me then, his voice caught
“Is only to live it”

— Elko, NV. 8 Nov 21