sky, with a bit of cottonwood


Two Moon Park on a holiday was not busy. Pairing the words, busy and park, feels wrong and we were glad to see few people there.  Father and young son on bikes. Three teenagers deciding the river was too cold to swim (always a wise decision when it comes to this river water). And a young couple examining a gravel bar, searching for agates. One found agate, we were told, included the possibility of amber.

The possibility of amber.

Every day I hold myself open, ready to receive poetry whenever and however it appears. But does poetry appear or is it always here? This was the question I considered as we followed the narrow path through the grove of cottonwoods, stopping every fifty feet to examine the grove for evidence of diamond willow. Now that our state is eradicating all Russian Olive trees (not native to this area), it’s a little easier to find the diamond willow, which makes for good walking canes. (If one only had the nerve to remove diamond willow from the park.) We could never do that, but still we keep an eye out for growths of diamond willow. It is something, we agreed, to behold.

Stepping off the path, we peer into the shadows of the undergrowth to see where the deer bed down in the evening. The prairie grass is tall, except for the bedded grass. A breeze flips down from the sandstone cliffs and tosses the large cottonwood leaves overhead. Imagine above you the sound of polite golf-course clapping, the doves cooing, the amber waiting through the centuries to be discovered on the banks of the Yellowstone. And this:

“Many indigenous peoples construe awareness, or ‘mind,’ not as a power that resides inside their heads, but rather as a quality that they themselves are inside of along with the other animals and plants, the mountains and the clouds.” – David Abrams


I trust in dirt. This path I’ve followed for decades. Remember? The hill has always been there. Memories of previous treks through the park wash over me. I’ve been over that hill on cross-country skis, I’ve been over that hill with toddlers on my back, I’ve been over that hill with a  puppy on a leash. And now here I am, again. Kids are grown, puppies long gone. And yet, this dirt and that hill. Still here. And now, this time with the possibility of amber.



About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

2 responses to “sky, with a bit of cottonwood

  1. And yet, I think of how the land itself could change utterly in a eye blink. Thanks for this, Sherry. A moment of calm in my day.

  2. I always come here, not looking for the real world. I come here knowing where the real world resides. Never once have I read your poetry without being moved, without being lifted from matters which should be no one’s business to the places you have found and remembered. I can’t speak for myself, however I know you are a piece of the universe’s DNA. Amber. xoxo

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