Riding each breeze is the ancient perfume the land once possessed before it was bridled by human hands: the top notes of sweet rot, ripened dirt and wild phlox, followed by the musky base notes of birthing fauna. I wish I could wax poetic about it all, like there is an earthly elegance to it- the beaver, the bedding doe, the flock of blue-wing all brimming and cusping new track and trail as the river water floods the banks. Brown tendrils of runoff winding under the watchful eye of bald eagles, their hallux talons shining onyx. The willow branches heavy, drifting lazy fingers across the current like a child’s fingers through bathwater.
In the end, what I muse on most is the mixture of resigned-grief and gritty-fellowship of the men I love:
Listening to them talking around the bed of a rusted pickup, gumbo caked to the soles of their rubber boots and necks tanned from Midwest sun, each voice tired and sore. Eyes flickering to the skidsteer standing sentry, sandbags like a small army lining the temporary wall before them, on a levee they each pray will hold through the night. Ball caps, with faded seed-sale logos and local tractor dealerships, adjusted by aching hands and the slingshot sound of tobacco spit in the grass. Nighttime escorting in the muggy descension of mosquitoes and coyote melodies.