Out of my element

21 Apr

Photo: Pixabay

Out of my element

I bushwack through brush
trying to remember to hand off
face-high branches to the hiker
just behind
keep an eye out for stinging
nettle, poison oak
haul myself up thigh-burningly
steep hills, inch down steep declines
side-footed with the caution
of an arthritic senior
but when we reach the stream
bridged by a fallen log
I freeze.

How will I cross
without my pack throwing me
off balance?
Pray my shoes sprout cleats.
Envision crawling across
the narrow rounded bridge
on hands and knees…

“Come on!” my friend cries
as she lithe-springs
from log to shore.
But how can I “come on”
with feet and legs possessed
by sweaty

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Prompt – Inspiration
The prompt for this November 2012 poem was “Write a poem that scares you. It could be a scary movie or ghost story poem. It could be a poem about a secret in your past. It could be a poem about your worst fear. It just needs to bring up a scary/fearful/uncomfortable emotion as you write.”


VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!


Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts at her wonderfully eclectic blog Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.


Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Nature, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , ,

19 responses to “Out of my element

  1. Tabatha

    April 21, 2017 at 10:00 am

    You made me scared right there with you, Violet! What happened?? You can’t leave us there like that…


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Thanks, Tabatha, This would be a composite poem of all the frightening times I was challenged to cross streams on logs, especially the years I hung out with friends who loved to hike in the mountains of north B.C. Sometimes I tottered across. Once or twice I refused and maybe we turned back… don’t remember.



  2. Irene Latham

    April 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Oh Violet, we have all been there facing the log at some point, haven’t we? I remember being with my father once at the headwaters of the Mississippi River on a very wet, nasty day, there was a (mossy) log just like the one in your picture, and the opportunity to say “I crossed the headwaters of the Mississippi.” But it was too slick. I was sure I would fall. So I didn’t. I’m not sorry I didn’t. There is also beauty in creating safety for oneself. But on a sunny, dry day I might have made a completely different decision! Thank you for your poem. xo


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Oh Irene, I feel better already! Log + Wet + Mossy = a bad combination! I will remember this: “There is beauty in creating safety for oneself.” I totally agree!!


  3. Kiesha Shepard

    April 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I was right there with you the whole time! It was scary, but I sure did enjoy the view!


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks, Kiesha! I enjoyed those views too (and the company). That’s probably why I couldn’t stay behind.


  4. wonderingandwondering

    April 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Brilliant. As a hiker myself, you captured our shared trepidation beautifully. If that was me, the log would have flipped. 🙂 Great job.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks for the reassurance, wonderingandwondering! I always felt like such a klutz among my more adventurous and agile companions. It’s good to know that true hikers can also experience this fear!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kay McGriff (@kaymcgriff)

    April 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Why is it I can scamper just fine down a log lying on the ground, but freeze when it is high above a stream? I can relate to that fear–sometimes I inch across and sometimes take my chances getting my feet wet down below.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      I’ve had the same thoughts, Kay. It’s like the fear is doubled when you know you’re high above something.


  6. katswhiskers

    April 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I too see the danger in situations, and look for the safe place to land. (Or not depart from!) A great poem that really resonates.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks Katswhiskers. “Or not depart from” – I like that! The older I get the more things I get to say, “I don’t do that any more” without people saying (or probably thinking) – “Oh, you should try.” Daredevil? Not me!!


  7. Jane the Raincity Librarian

    April 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Oh dear, I think I would’ve crawled across in a safe but decidedly undignified manner – my usual approach to a scary situation! 😉


  8. Brenda Davis Harsham

    April 21, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    You scared me! 🙂


  9. maryleehahn

    April 22, 2017 at 4:54 am

    I am right with you, managing all of the challenges up to but not including that log!


  10. Bridget Magee

    April 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Your poem put me on the shore with you: ‘come on’ or not to ‘come on’. Depending on the day and my mood, I could do either. Sometimes I get wet, other times I stay dry, but always making up my OWN mind. Great poem, Violet! =)


    • Violet Nesdoly

      April 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks, Bridget! And I don’t have any trouble believing that last… that you make up your OWN mind!



  11. I write therefore I am alive.

    August 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Beautifully expressed 😊

    Liked by 1 person


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