Thursday, December 11, 2008
On the Eramosa Karst
The previous post about the voice of the land mentioned my hike in the new conservation area here in Hamilton, the Eramosa Karst. It is an escarpment or stone ridge on top of the massive Niagara Escarpment; because the rock is softer, it has some different qualities. There are sinkholes where running water has found a way into the rock and between layers; there are springs where it bubbles up to the surface again; and underneath that surface are miles of caves, many small and narrow but some substantial. The original settlers would curse the holes and try to fill them, but welcome the springs and brooks. Trouble is, you can't have the latter without the former.
I wrote a poem about the experience. Now I don't intend to use this space as a private publication house, but since it was sent out to several friends and posted on another site, I will share it here.
Cold Sunday on the Eramosa Karst
We have come to feel its small wonders,
to dance our minds to the land’s old hums.
Uninvited, that bitter winter sun came by,
partnered with a steel wind stone-honed
to scythe the stately dance or slap the steppers.
The undesired intrude into introductions,
make demands that should remain unasked.
Chill light and thin air battle our breaths,
chip at our fingertips.
But the music we hear will not be silenced.
Land and brush crunch whispered greetings
to the feet on the path, encourage our every
slow movement from here to there.
Movement from here to there.
Here the water slips sinking into disappearance,
in a hole blacker than space, and there
reappears in several spots bubbling
to gather together and sing a new way
through crumbling stone.
Like old fiddle tunes familiar ways reach
through the cold to the knowing heart,
the remembering feet, the undefiled faces.
At the end the comfort inside of cider heat
and our hearts’ hot desires hold close
songs of knowledge to the tunes of wisdom.