the road

Lee Ellen Pottie

The nature of my road is changing from day to week
to month and sometimes hourly if the rain has been hard.
No cause to visit the road before Théo, but now I see
the stones, flowers, birds, trees vividly. If they were people
I would know them, as well as one can in passing. Better
than faceless students on Zoom. The bits of nature
more familiar, even though they change with sun
and rain, wind gusts that blow them
down and around. The lone birch near the bean field has lost
a long thick arm. I break off twigs 
to play fetch with Théo, who is more interested 
in chewing than retrieving, though he’ll bring back
flat stones if I throw them into the farmer’s field.

The road has a riverine quality, where miners squat
panning for gold, and I am content
finding jewels of quartz, sandstone, mudstone
and breccias arrayed
on the desk for my appraising eyes.

Crows and gulls overhead, starlings thronging,
goldfinches, blue jays, chickadees in the branches,
song sparrows and juncos flushed from the brambles
and fields as Théo’s long sable and black nose
and prancing legs bound through the fields. He tears
after them, barking, saluting the beauty of their flight,
perhaps their freedom, although he seems satisfied to return 
with tongue hanging out, a skip in his step, “good dog” from me before
he heads off again, intrepid explorer. This afternoon, the dried wild
hay sang in the sou-wester, harmony with cigalles and crickets.

Summer was sun-drenched. Now, after torrential rain of recent days,
the weather is shifting, like the road, towards winter. Small bushes
turn red, next season’s holiday decorations; crab apples browning, dropping 
to the ground, food for foxes that live in the gullies
or ravens that will eat just about anything.
The road that was flat at the beginning of summer
shows signs of what will come: holes for slush 
and snow, sloping tracks toward the ditches,
nothing but stones for a bit of traction. 
Théo chases flocks of geese on their way
south. Finds aromatic surprises under
falls of wet maple leaves,
munches on legumes left by the farmer 
to dry, fertilizer for next year’s crop of potatoes. 
I watch the summer homes close, yellow
buses with steamy windows race by
with shadowy, reluctant passengers, and plan 
for the coming seasons – shovelling 
snow, teasing out flowers

in painting class, planning next spring’s sojourn 
in Provence, breaking trails with Théo 
as far as the road will take us.

Lee Ellen Pottie is a self-employed editor and writer; a sessional English professor at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada; and an amateur photographer and painter. Lee Ellen has published two chapbooks, the latest worthless with The Alfred Gustav Press in Vancouver, She was born in Halifax, grew up there and in Montreal, Fredericton, and Windsor, and continues to grow in PEI, where she lives with her husband, writer Richard Lemm, and their dog, Théo, named for Vincent’s brother.

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