National Poetry Month: Cloud-Followers

By Linda Varsell Smith 


We head north on our Saturday ride. 

Four hours under an ever-changing sky. 

Billowy, white cloud sculptures mix 

with banks of gray clouds bearing rain. 


We drive up the valley with wide vistas, 

of flat farm land, orchards draping 

moss-covered trees with loped off limbs. 

We are not able to detect what fruit will bloom. 


Two bonfires burn branch debris. 

Roadside and forest areas have 

fallen trees from an ice storm. Limbs 

litter the ground. Fields are greening. 


Alpaca and cattle graze.  Tree farms, 

wineries, vineyards, ranches add 

to rural diversity. Small towns with 

Dollar Generals and pot shops. 


Many closed stores and restaurants. 

Hubbard hosts a Hop Festival. Canby 

is a garden spot. Rain spritzes on 

and off, most heavily on last leg home. 


In our car cocoon we can discuss our 

concerns. We do not use GPS, but 

his cell phone for directions. No sound. 

I was on alert for turns. We use drive-thru. 


I drape my mother’s red cape over me. 

When sunny the heat beats through 

the windshield. We keep on our sunglasses 

and the world looks lush. 


Clouds fascinate both of us. The panorama 

stretches for miles. We try to define 

images in the mountainous clouds. 

Both of us enjoy their natural beauty. 


The world floats and expands when you follow 

clouds. Earthly issues abate for four hours. 

We drift with the clouds and our spirits lift 

in light-shifting sky. Dark birds fly below.