We lived in a painting, a pastoral promise of stepped Berkshire hills,
the Midlands of green meadows in the distance dotted with sheep
and vistas of forest. We raced through the world of our living
to the world of commerce—the commissary, the thrift shop,
the post exchange of RAF Welford, England. And the wide
Bridle Path was our planet of trees to wade through—a tunnel
woven from arbors of oaks and chestnuts whose cowls touched
over our heads, high in the neutral breezes, wide enough
for horse-drawn carriages and adventure. It was the excitement
of danger without the fear of danger. Why follow a cultivated
sidewalk when any child can race through an entire world of trees?
I want that mystery back. Let me stroll back to that time,
in which everything in the world can be thrilling again.
Let me find and wander down the old Bridle Path, to see
the ghosts of children walking ahead of me, leading me
back, the transparency of that world on this world,
the evocation of time and memory—to be twelve again
and kick through the Bridle trees with Phyllis Rogers,
the willowy girl who loved horses. Give me the cleaner air
of that decade, that century, that children’s forest, green upon
green and winding. What is burnished reverie but to grant us
a smile in winter? May all of us have such a Bridle Path
to return to, to come full circle, to end in peace where
we began, to have loved the passage and the distance come.