It is springtime and a young man’s fancy –
the fancy of a healthy, virile young man
in the prime of his life –
is seized by the call of nature, the call of the wild,
a force beyond his control,
a force he pretty much thinks about all the time,
that in springtime shuts down all other thought,
an urgent need that can be slaked by one thing only,
by hiking the Appalachian Trail.
No time for notice to family and friends,
for itineraries left with the secretary,
for an out-of-office notification on the email.
Apologies to anyone trying to reach me,
but I am hiking the Appalachian Trail.
It’s as old as man
and it snakes through plump mountains
and lush curves for two thousand miles.
Even a young man lacks
the stamina to do it all at once,
would have a hard time getting up
the steepest hills time after time after time,
would surely get blisters,
so I will periodically be out on short notice
to grab a piece here or there.
I beseech you, be understanding
when a whiff of floral cologne
drives me to thoughts of bushes
of rhododendron in bloom,
to desperate day-long hikes that climax al fresco
on moonlit mountaintop meadows,
camping in the wild, days and days and days at a time,
hiking the Appalachian Trail.