When snow’s on the ground I walk toward tangled
places—briars and vines, the second-growth thickets
of once-cleared fields. I locate bittersweet that climbs
high in half-dead trees, loops in spills, probes tendrils
along wires. I watch for the scribble of winterberry—
shapes one might sharpen a pencil for, doodle down
a page. I’ve lost myself by a wall tracing the conical caps
and ridges of each stone, the rude diagonals of a toppled
cord of wood. Grace tracing lines, as if one moves
closer to primal design, the Lord a draftsman first.
Ups, downs, lefts, rights, slow curving climbs and swift
rounded falls, dizzying spirals, the music and motion
of sight driven to define itself in the sparest of terms.
Line refreshes when we’re overwhelmed by the boisterous
play of color and mass—the sketch that leads us back
to what the mural will become. Perhaps it’s most
like reading, the way our eyes move along a line
that turns and proceeds at a varying pace, the pleasures
of poetry over prose, a proclivity hard-wired in us
that grants shape to thought and feeling, or an earlier claim—
the need to follow a path. I’m happy walking in snow,
taking in the fluent forms, all the patterns vision traces.
from The Double Task