He was rugged, portly shaman
in plaid-flannel couture, sleeves
always rolled up to the elbow

There are no mountaintops in
Minnesota’s northwoods.

Enlightenment there comes from
atop a decaying tree stump aside a
rustic leaf and pine needle carpeted
trail cutting through towering birch,
white pines, maple, oak

You stop, to sit for a spell – he on the
stump, you on the path; cross-legged,
entranced as only a youth in awe of
admired, loved old age can be

Solemnity was always denoted with
wry smiles, knowing nods; moral lessons
punctuated with a joke, tall tale, sly wink
or roaring laughter at your reaction

There was no sacred pilgrimage to be made,
no fireworks-revelation, no sacrifice or
self-flagellation – unless you made the joke
on yourself.

Lasting wisdom came to me so long ago,
on short walks in the woods with an old man
that I wished, even then, could’ve been longer.


One thought on “Oracle

  1. slpmartin June 2, 2010 / 8:47 am

    Just a lovely poem of rememberance…you paint an excellent portrait with your words…thanks for sharing this.


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