At Goat Lick
It was cold. Colder than cool
And wet, with spring barely in sight
The ice reaching its thin but lengthy bony fingers toward the asphalt parking lot
where it had been melted snow earlier in the day.
And though it was May, and the sun had been out,
The tall larches and pines now started to shade the vista
bringing a chill that could freeze a person
under the clear Montana sky.
The light was still bright, over the other valley, where we looked
to mountains. And at our feet
in that cold
where there was little other food to be seen
were the tiniest of strawberry plants.
Wild strawberries, there, growing next to the icy limbs
a bright red fruit next to its white flower, hiding across yards
No goat had taken it
no visitor had seen it.
and as my daughter squatted in her short stout
toddler body, she grinned with recognition
and gently touched the berry, looked at it,
then walked over and took my hand
over to the trail.