The Vermont dirt road is not as new as the meditation center
where I began this walk.
The road is not nearly as old
as the stone walls,
half tumbled down and overgrown,
more green than grey.
The road depends on us. It seems permanent
as long as we use it.
The hills are tree-clad again. Briefly,
they were denuded when people came
up the nearby river, with axes and saws,
They needed wood.
They wanted land.
Now many have gone away, seeking urban amenities and job opportunities.
The trees are back, while the stream
still chatters all the way down to the river.
It is still cutting rock, removing soil.
The stream is relatively young, younger
than the rocks it plays with. Unlike
the Connecticut that it flows into, it was not around
when the glacier came and conquered.
Rocks are everywhere, large and small. Some
are nearly in situ. Some were brought down
from higher slopes as water turned mountains.
into hills. Some traveled hundreds of miles,
carried by the ice. Then they were left behind as
the ice retreated.
They will stay where they are until they are moved
by water, ice, or people.
Once upon a time there were tall mountains here.
Going back farther, the land had been low: silt, sand, and mud,
often covered by seawater.
Rock was formed, layer upon layer.
Then continents collided. Rock layers
were squeezed, pushed upward, torn and crumpled, made into mountain
Heat and pressure metamorphosed the sedimentary rock.
After the uplifts, came erosion. Streams carried away the fruits of erosion's work.
Briefly, glaciers ruled. Water continued its slow work,
sculpting the rounded hills we love.
Eventually the land will again be silt, sand, and mud.
The polished wood floor in the meditation center seemed solid as we sat.
The ground we walk on certainly seems permanent, at least to us.
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