Joining the Carolina Mountain Club is one of the best things I did as soon as I moved to Asheville four years ago. I have loved something about each and every hike in these hills and hollers, but yesterday’s Green River Cove hike, in the gorge along the Green River, was the most pleasurable club hike yet. A divine day full of light, only a poem can attempt to catch it.
Everywhere I cast my eye,
stone is flecked with mica,
and just down from the bank,
sparkling in the sand,
specks of the shining stuff
glitter from underwater.
Between the flow and the boulders we walk,
rocks like leaning beings, big as churches.
Carolina vetch begins its lacey climb.
Little brown jugs with their heart-shaped leaves
tantalize like unopened presents.
Trillium pumps up tight, still closed,
from the exact center of their tripartite show.
For the fragile whites of spring beauties,
and a brave patch of hepatica by the creek,
I honor this corner of earth.
I bow my thanks
for letting us pass this way.
Each time we cross a creek
I, also, pour down to the Green,
all my wishes for new growth.
Even when the river disappears from view
her rushing sound reaches us.
The wind in the treetops
sings harmony with the river
quickening, quickening over rocks.
How green she is,
in the sun this dazzling afternoon!
And marching up a perfect hill,
a great clan of grey trunks,
trees still leafless
that let us see the sky,
blue the color of dreaming.