On my birthday
Fish the color of ripe tomatoes cruise
where Taylor Creek pools near the west shore of Tahoe.
Like sugar maples, Kokanee turn crimson in fall, dressing up
for mating season. By taste and smell and mystery
they swim here, where they were spawned, resolving a cycle.
A troop of rust-headed, tufted mergansers trolls the water,
motor boats with heads tucked under the surface
angling for minnows, or maybe just fooling around.
Surely it’s an error to suppose other creatures act
only to survive: feed, flirt, mate, nurture.
Or are pleasure and necessity for them the same?
I read once that nature waits for us to awaken and perceive
with the heart, so it may see itself in reflection, all
consciousness being connected. But is it the other way around?
In the wild I sense my own amnesiac source. Autumn loops
back to the sweet hurt inflicted by burnished beauty.
I stand fixed in the hush that follows and forecasts mayhem.