There is No News Cycle on the Trail – by Mitchell Nobis

The world
went farther into the
handbasket’s Hell today,
no doubt,
but forgive me
for not noticing this time.

You see,
it’s late November in
Michigan, the time
when Joe Henry says you
can almost see the river
turn to steel,

and as a native son,
I vouch
he’s right

because Charlie & I hiked
two hours today
and spent a good chunk
of time tossing sticks
through the
lake’s grey skin.
All life was still except for
flying sticks, the ripples,
and a few curious deer who
watched us from afar, twitching white tails at
the imperceptible breeze.

The lake cares not

for problems.
Neither do the deer.
Neither, for that matter,
does my young son,
as impressed with each of my throws as he was with the first
because I can get the sticks
all the way to the water
past the ten feet of muck—
this true miracle replayed
a dozen times,
each splash
as incredible as the last—
“You did it!”

The lake teaches us this much at least—

you can
hurl dead wood
beyond the muck
to still water beyond.
And you can do it
& again
& again.

Mitchell Nobis is a writer, an educator, and an aging pickup basketball player in Metro Detroit where he lives with his wife and two sons. A Philip Levine Prize semi-finalist, his work has appeared in English Journal, Hobart, and other publications. He co-authored Real Writing: Modernizing the Old School Essay, a book for writing teachers. Find him at @MitchNobis.

Photographer’s Note: This photo represents a place where, in its quietness, time appears to stand still. While the issues in the world continue to be cycled through the headline news, being one with nature allows us to escape that noise and just be, if only for a few hours. You can “hurl” the world’s problems aside and find peace in the still water – again & again & again.