William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tenacious Fuzz

Out already for half an hour or so, the first person we met in the canyon early yesterday morning was a man we saw several days ago on the Perimeter Trail. Quiet, friendly, and about our age, he told us he retired last year, and that he hikes in the area about four times a week. With the stream rushing and the maples yellowing in the moss-moldy atmosphere recharged by rain, the meeting seemed almost unreal, as perhaps it was, as perhaps this is.

We walked about eight miles — roughly four from North Falls, past Twin Falls, Middle North Falls, Drake Falls, Double Falls, and Lower North Falls, all the way to Lower South Falls, and then back again over the same rocky path, noticing as always how different things look when coming from the opposite direction, as if we were seeing the other side of someone’s face. We were out about three hours.

Found this morning near a wooden railing along the road leading into Willamette Mission State Park: dwarf mallow (Malva neglecta), also known as cheeseweed. Leaves much smaller and plant much more compact than that on the farm in the San Joaquin Valley, where a rangy depth of two feet was not uncommon. All parts edible. Goose Lake, then Mission Lake: in the latter, the water is higher again from the recent rain, and much of the algae has been dispersed. Fifty degrees. The grass on the two-and-a-half-mile path heavily drenched, along with toes and forepart of sandals. Fuzz clinging tenaciously to the skeletal remains of creeping thistle: prompting me to say, Capt. Tenacious Fuzz, at your service. Formerly Admiral Fuzz, demoted for behavior unbecoming an officer. Unbecoming — until, finally, Fuzz is not here at all in any sense of himself as himself, with no longer any need of identity — i.e., being everything and all simultaneously. Like us.

October 1, 2021

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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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