About a mile west of Ochelata,
County Road 2900 rises up the ridge,
zigs and turns and follows the boundaries
of old properties and hidden houses.
This is a place of low hills and rocky fields,
scrub brush and stubby oaks,
a rippling view of browns and greens
and sandstone in a hundred hues.
On the evening of the rehearsal,
we gather on the concrete slab
that was meant to be the office
of a million dollar house
that burned down years ago.
Trees and pasture stretch for miles to the south
while the sun etches flames
along the edges of clouds
just above the rim of the woods
on the opposite side of the lake.
Bits of embers burn in the mirrored surface,
thin slants of sun traced between the trunks of trees,
shimmering in the barely rippled waters
while we watch the colors fading into dusk.
A while later, we lounge in the shade
beside a smaller lake while B.J. grills
and Michelle tends to the other things
of feeding a houseful of friends and family.
A light breeze ebbs and flows,
a fire slowly catches and grows,
and the sounds of guitar and singing
rings the circle gathered here in the shadows.
A bit past midnight,
a half-moon rises in the narrow pass
between the silhouettes of pine trees
set along the sides of levee and bank.
We murmur at the willowy reflection,
give thanks for nights like this,
set between days hot enough to wilt trees
and bringing together such friends as these
in rehearsal of a Greater Feast.