The cold mountain sleeps calmly.
On awakening, the morning’s white blanket
reveals trees little by little.
Monochrome silhouettes of conifers, yawning
through the moist fog of autumn, finches,
flycatchers and resonant barbets
compose the valley in unison.
Women mount the sack of hay, their back
crooked and burdened by the slope, smiling
they wave at us from the waterfall. Horde
of mules and one excited dog engulf and leave us.
The sky opens into blue.
I touch the barks of a hundred trees, stepping
over each stone like a syllable in a long story.
The moss cushions my progress as magpies glide
from path to path
Sounds of a temple find me faintly
The mountain meditates like a master.