Nearing final payoff, the trail vaults upward. His cane sweeps back and forth, as if pulling him forward. Summer sun leaches through unseen canopy above, warming his hair. Salty sweat traces his outthrust chin.
Muted babbling ahead spills eternal language, seeking understanding. A breeze entices counterpoint with susurrus chorus. The gust knits hints of sweet grass and honeysuckle with musty earth, decaying detritus.
Cane splashing, he kneels. Frigid water numbs his hand. Below the silky silt feels like a lover’s skin. He smiles in reflection. He waits, listening to the timeless exchange between nature’s lovers: mountain stone and water spring.