The Pilgrim


Hayden Lake
United States

Driving home.

Went straight instead of left and

ended up at the dock

facing that water

running under and out from me to the foot of the colossal mountain

on the other side.

A mountain still

dripping from the evening’s rain

with white teary clouds still

clinging in the pines.


Cold wind rushes at me like soft forceful wolves.

I belong here.

I hear the low hum of the land,

and it tells me how old it is,

and how long it will remain.

I am old as the first person who stood here,

and I revere it as much as the last who will.

I wish I could run into the water and let all of me go.

I want to be the perfect line where the water meets the mountain.


But the wind rises, turns me back.

Says to me, Wait, you will someday.

But now isn't the time—

you’re still a part of the town.

So I turn back towards

my car

and the town,

to Drive and Do a little longer before I return

to the lake.


Walking back,

there’s a boy on the lifeguard stand.  

We greet each other

and he asks me why I’m here.


I say I came to see the lake.


He says he’s reading the Bible.

He asks, You’re not Christian?


He says, You should come to the Lake City Church sometime.

He goes there and he loves it.

Maybe I will.

I would have invited him to my church, but he was already there.

My church, my grave, my heaven.


Later I smile as I’m driving home because

we both came down that evening to see God.

He saw the lake

as the stamp of some higher man, but

I saw the lake

and it was enough.

It bathes in the same rains I do

but feels no chill,

and peers through the same nights I do

but never fears.

My heaven accepts me in life and in death.

I play in it like a child plays in the house she’ll one day inherit.


I feel so glad

                   I can see my heaven.

I feel so glad

                   I don’t need to imagine my God.


This poem is about: 
My community


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