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If a Wilderness
By Carl Phillips


Then spring came:
                       branches-in-a-wind...

I bought a harness, I bought a bridle.
I wagered on God in a kind stranger—
kind at first; strange, then less so—
and I was right.
                       The difference between
God and luck is that luck, when it leaves,
does not go far: the idea is to believe
you could almost touch it....

                                                        Now he's
singing, cadence of a rough sea—A way of
crossing a dark so unspecific, it seems
everywhere: isn't that what singing, once,
was for?
           I lay the harness across my lap,
the bridle beside me for the sweat—the color
and smell of it—that I couldn't, by now,
lift the leather free of, even if I wanted to.

I don't want to.

--------

Hello from Hanover, Pennsylvania, where we spent July 4th having a cookout (of course) and hiking around Strawberry Hill Nature Center. The property has existed since 1798 and the log cabin there dates to the Civil War; it's a bit past Gettysburg near the Lutheran Theological Seminary, so we got to see the Seminary Hill battlefield and a bit of the city which seems appropriate for Independence Day. The nature center is at the bottom of a circle hike to a onetime quarry that's now parkland, and the park has muddy wetlands (with no boardwalk -- our shoes are a mess!) filled with frogs, tadpoles, newts, grasshoppers, birds, insects and assorted flowers.

It drizzled while we were at Strawberry Hill but we made it back before the big thunderstorm, and I can't complain anyway because I read that my county at home had tornadoes and hail that caused the evacuation of the National Mall before the DC fireworks! Our original plan was to watch the Hanover fireworks from near where they were launched, but another big storm came through just after 9 p.m. while we were half-listening to the DC concert (Hayden Panettiere, yay), so sitting on lounge chairs outdoors lost some of its appeal. Instead we walked to the YMCA that's a block from where my in-laws live and watched from there. They were still very pretty, much quieter and we didn't worry so much about the lightning!


The Hanover fireworks seen from behind the YMCA fields.


Great Spangled Fritillaries (we think) on butterfly weed in the woods at Strawberry Hill.


A newt crawls out of the wetlands...


...while another lounges in the mud.


A little frog peers out of the water. As we approached, we saw hundreds of frogs diving into mud to hide.


Black-eyed Susans at the edge of the clearing before the quarry.


I know neither what kind of beetle this is nor what kind of plant this is but they look pretty together.


And finally, the pump in front of the old cabin in the rain.


Thursday we might go to Gettysburg Battlefield, miniature golf, Boyd's Bears or the movies, depending on the weather!

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