Boots gather white,
Padding toward the river.
A fat chestnut squirrel titters,
Flitting her tail on a brittle branch,
Oblivious—or perhaps knowing—
in some squirrely way—
The stark beauty we behold—
So much white with stalks of brown,
The sun a lazy, shrouded gold.


Down the steps we descend.
My glove clings to yours
To keep from tripping,
Slipping on the icy carpet
Packed tight on the wintry floor.


As we approach the clearing,
Nearing the river, we remark
How it gushes forth its life force
Among seemingly lifeless, woody bystanders.


Here, the crystalline water is transcendent,
Resplendent in perpetual motion


One instant we snatch,
Trapped on the small screen
For safekeeping and reminiscing:


“Remember when our boots gathered white,
padding toward the river,
that fat chestnut squirrel tittering, flitting her tail,
And, oh, that river—transcendent, resplendent
in perpetual motion onward?”

Even in the midst of mental chaos, there can be moments of beauty and clarity. I wrote this about a walk I’d gone on with my partner at the time when I was in between treatment centers. Even though we’re not together anymore, that photo we took is still my caller ID for his number.