The Rains Across the Ridge by Alan Caldwell


The Rains Across the Ridge

The rains across the ridge never rest, a ceaseless and fine mist descending from a gray dissolution of bruised clouds.

The sun in my valley rises and sets, and the rains come to the valley and then go, but the rains across the ridge never rest.

My valley is cold, and warm, and hot in seasonal turns.

I pull my breast close to the winter flames, fire shadows dance on the walls of the forest cathedral, the burning savor of split and dried hickory, the back of my warmest coat cold to the touch

The spring sun unfastens my coat, and the trees in the valley evince their early green and gold.

I recline in summer shade and pray for a breath of breeze.

Autumn answers my prayers, the leaves again turn gold, and crimson, then sere.

The trees across the ridge never vary, perennially passionless, colorless, and insipid, and the rains on the other side of the ridge never rest.

As a boy I scaled the crest and peered over the ridge and into the restless rains, and I saw dark figures and shadows dancing in the hollow.

Their patterns were strange, and I was afraid.

On the summit, I read the Scriptures, and the prophets chastised me for my climb and for my ignorance.

They told me I was unprepared, so I returned to my valley.

As I aged, I longed for the rains across the ridge, and the company of shadows and dark figures that I witnessed as a boy.

At night, mists began to fall softly on my roof and lull me to sleep, and the now-familiar shadows and figures invite me to dance.

Today I lace my tired boots and pull my slouch hat low across my brow and again scale the ridge.

I know shadows and figures wait for me there, and I long to join their dance, and I am not afraid.


Image Credit: Rainy mountain [wallpaperaccess]

Alan Caldwell
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