Nov. 30: Cretan

for Jeannine

In an oak grove where we used to camp
as Girl Scouts, several decades later a young
Boy Scout outlined a labyrinth behind
the church where we’d attend Girl Scout
Sundays and my sister eventually married,

and all that came rushing back as I
walked the seven-circuit path whose
origins lie in ancient Crete—not a maze
but a single circular path leading to and fro,
bringing the wanderer back to the place
where she first began—

which is perhaps why visions of girls
in sleeping bags landed on me like oaks
releasing acorns and trefoil leaf clusters,
of learning how uncomfortable it was
to try to sleep on the ground, colder
than expected, of my Girl Scout buddy
tugging on me in the night because she

had to use the bathroom, and your buddy
had to accompany you everywhere,
and, as I walked the concentric circles
backward into my life, I found myself
apologizing to that long-ago buddy
whom I refused to accompany, not
wanting to wander the chilly night,
green flashlight in hand, more than
a half century later ashamed of my
selfishness, murmuring I’m sorry
to the trees rustling in autumn
shade, until I returned to the beginning,
having no idea how I’d gotten there.

(Photo / Jan Haag)

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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