Looking Down

Looking Down

We’re supposed to look up
and marvel at the soaring treetops,
lofty branches reaching to the heavens –
a vaulted cathedral ceiling.

I look down
and find miracles amongst the roots.
The dark, crumbly loam, soft and rich,
cushions the soles of my shoes.

I walk softly,
careful not to tread on the tiny lives that thrive
in the detritus descended from the clerestory above.

Tiny flowers each take their turn
soaking in the fleeting spring sunlight,
ephemeral dabs of pink and yellow and white.

Jack-in-the-Pulpits congregate at the pond’s edge,
the still air filled by a choir of invisible spring peepers.
Birds above can’t compete with their enthusiastic refrains.

A slim striped snake warms herself
on a sunny rock pillow, itself alive with lichens and moss.
Underneath, a safe haven for good worms and enterprising insects.

Forest and forest dweller alike
all one day become part of this loamy bed.
Immensity succumbs to miniature,
life yields to new life.

To see, you just have to look down.


Poem by Carol Wolf


Carol Wolf is a graphic designer and fine artist living in northern New Jersey. She received her BFA from the School of Art at The Cooper Union in 1984, and also manages The Cottage Place Gallery in Ridgewood, NJ. Carol’s artwork explores the passage of time, the seasons, and the natural world. She enjoys spending time outside in the woods and in her garden, which inspires her creative writing.