Outdoor Explorations · Poetry

Spiral Staircase

Maurie sitting on the "Staircase"
Maurie sitting on the "Staircase" - Washington Park Arboretum - February 19, 2012

Step into the instant twilight
The grove arches above
Growing closer together
Filtering out the light

Stand underneath one
And look up
Branches radiate
Like the spokes of
A haphazard wheel

Thick and close
Spiraling up from the base
A staircase in green and brown
To carry me to the top

Today, Maurie and I spent our afternoon at the Washington Park Arboretum near the University of Washington.  We usually spend most of our time on the east side of Arboretum Drive, but today, we crossed the footbridge and explored the west side of the road some.  Next to a small playground, we found a grove of Sequoia trees.  It felt like twilight when we stepped under their cover.  One of the trees had branches several inches thick growing from it all the way to the ground.  We both set off climbing the tree.  I remember reading stories of John Muir climbing a tree in the Sierras and riding out a storm in it.  As I saw the branches like this and started climbing, I thought of branches growing like this as “Muir’s Staircase.”  Perhaps that is how I’ll always see branches growing like this from now on.


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