Betty Naegele Gundred: Circuitious |

Betty Naegele Gundred: Circuitious


My route to town is a rural highway,

zigzagging through forests and pastureland.

Today, my drive is interrupted as

traffic comes to a standstill.

I am weary of this construction,

the wait, in both directions . . .

with a wave, the stoic flagman

releases the parade of cars.

Maple leaves shower

my windshield with scarlet,

a hue scarce against the amber landscape.

I savor the stunning contrasts.

The county is widening the road,

taming the snake-like turns.

They say it will be safer —

I am not convinced.

En route I pass tree stumps,

lofty ponderosas

reduced to jagged splinters,

bulldozed red clay

masked in black tarp —

vestiges of the violated land.

Golden oak leaves distract me,

sparkling in strobed sunlight

atop their ochre shadows.

A metamorphosis of color

will continue ‘til leaf-fall.

Mighty oaks are slow to surrender,

wearing their wizened leaves like


even into spring.

Autumn, my muse,

evokes nostalgia.

I long for my “old” country road,

for my grandmother’s farm before Walmart,

for letters written by hand . . .

Am I stuck in time, too stubborn to change?

or just slower, circuitous in my journey,

like the color of oak leaves,

like the curves in this road.

I will “come around” — in my time.

Betty Naegele Gundred lives in Grass Valley.

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