A prose poem, “Cottonwoods in the Valley,” from a session of trail yoga spent low and slow in the Garden of the Gods.

Like I’m coming into the scene of a cold case, one left to linger in the open air for all to witness, evidence strewn, dried and decaying. I walk among cottonwoods that have stood in this valley since before I was born, and maybe you.

Cottonwoods in the Valley | Humanitou PoetryMaybe it was that and the consequences of our thirst they find so disagreeable that led to their resignation, to their skins two inches thick coming to lie crumbled and scattered in the red dirt and summer-green grass, so many chinks of failed armor.

With it all lies their sagging will to stand erect, to continue reaching for the winds that stir the clouds, to be silent lookouts over the valley that cradles deer, rattlesnakes and coyotes between walls of chalk and red.

Those that stand at all tilt ever deeper to the earth, soon enough to join their own in full repose. Heart-shaped leaves continue to sprout with the rains that slake roots exposed and wet branch tips askew.

Writing is scarred onto the nearly naked bodies of them all, asking the inevitable answer: But for how long?

The more time I spend with nature, the more breathing I do and more direction I find. It’s trail yoga that sparks creative energy flows for me, ones that lead to lyrical pieces like Cottonwoods in the Valley. And chapbooks like Echoes of Oms. And this photography project.