--a poem in honor of the Spirit of Nature

Everyone has a first love.

For some, it's themselves.
Stylish selfies, life portrayals.

For others, an addiction of numbing.

For others, money.

For still others, it's battle.
At least that's a form of connection, right?

As I take the hermit road once and for all,
I return to my first love.
Her perfume lures me back to the cloud-laced hills.

She is resolute.
Gracious in her receiving.
Soft in her embrace.

Though she challenges me to be better day to day,
she accepts me when I fail; points me back to the way of The Way,
and has never - not once  - doubted my fidelity to her
or my lifelong commitment to her Beauty Way.

Her inner light, her curves, her endless stories, intoxicate me.

On moonlit nights, she is my companion.
We trade poems.

In the dark phases of the month,
she leaves me and meets me in dream.

There is blame and names on the wind tonight.
It is of no mind to me.
This heart-mind knows it isn't sidestepping. It is deep-diving.

After being met by those
whose idea of "togetherness"
was always a sparring ground, 
I will stay with my first love;
the one who first accepted me years ago
into the way of the forest-priest.

There is no loyalty like this one.
There is no challenge like this one.
There is no instruction like this one.
There is no inspiration like this one.
There is no love like this one.

The fragrance of mountain cherry blossoms envelop me.
A soft breeze through the pines lifts my spirit.
I gaze skyward to the Great Tea Ladle above.
Even relatives among the Seven Sisters approve of this union.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) purelandpoetry.com

sound: Imee Ooi / Pure Land Mantra & Namo Amitabha Sutra / Amitabha Sutra