Laying Down Your Burdens

Daylight dirt road ecology environment


After emptying the foil tuna packet

I pour in some water,

slosh it around and drink it;

repeating until I’ve consumed every fleck of fish

and drop of oil.

I fold the packet and place it in my garbage bag;

a quart sized Ziploc for the week.

If we did this at home

they could pick up household garbage with a golf cart

instead of a 16 ton compactor truck.

And our carbon footprint would be sustainable

rather than ten or more times not so.

Though I have encountered hikers with elaborate music systems,

comfortable chairs,

and cans of beer

I am not sure they stay on the trail without paring down.

Even razors are abandoned at early shelters

by distance hikers shedding weight.

It is said that wealth is measured not by what you have,

but by what you feel you need.

Having to carry everything you need on your back

is the surest path to wealth I know of.


Poem by Albert Connette

I am a recently retired pastor with decades of writing experience (sermons, prayers, newsletters, etc.) but nothing published. I am a graduate of Davidson College in NC and Union Presbyterian Seminary in VA. Since retirement I have been writing children’s books on environmental and social justice themes, renovating an older home, gardening, birding, and hiking the southern half of the Appalachian trial (COVID altered my plans for a 2020 thru hike). I have compiled a collection of poems arising from my time on the trail, hoping it might serve as a reflection tool for others in making a deeper connection to nature and growing into their truer selves while in the wild. The three poems I am attaching are from that collection.