William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Misty Presence

At thirty-seven degrees in the canyon, with everything dripping, the falls roaring, and the stream running high, it didn’t take long for the soles of my bare feet and the thin foot bed of my sandals to become soaked and coated with mud. But I never felt cold. Twice, farther on, I washed them together in the swiftly moving water, which was not only cleansing and invigorating, but felt positively warm. Revelation, I thought, and the word and experience were one. After that, I began to walk through puddles instead of around them, relishing the deepest nestled in tree roots and rock.

Early on, as we stood in the misty presence of Upper North Falls, where months ago water skaters skimmed the surface of quiet pools below, I could not have said with any certainty where this body ended and the surroundings began. And so it was with the people we met, some smiling at my bare feet, some puzzled, others concerned, bumping along the trail like cells in the blood.

November 21, 2021


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