There is mist lying low on the hill above the farm. It flows before sunrise in rivers among the tall grass. In the rose-colored light it presents a glistening dew and touches with grace each spiderweb, highlighting the countless numbers.

Turning my gaze away for only minutes, I look back to find that it is already gone. It has receded now into the lower reaches of the valley, vanishing, as mysterious in its departing as its arriving, revealing in its ebbing, in the high hay of the hill pasture, a doe and her spring fawn. Surprised as I am, naked to the growing light, she is not: she bounds gracefully out of sight, followed by her offspring. Now left alone, except for my dogs, who root through the scuppernong vines for opossums who left their own leaving until too late, I sit.

Gradually, to my ears, comes the faint thrum of traffic, ten miles distant, winding its way through the various valleys and over the slanting ridges. Motor life returns to a workday rhythm after the holiday, pulsing through the outlying blood vessels into the city, draining the countryside of purpose other than that of a traveler’s inn, of sorts, for greed and accumulation.

Is this our fate, I wonder? A mere warehouse of life purposed toward temporary gain. To drive past lost meanings in the lay of the land, unable even to parse the text of an old dying fencerow, eddying like mist around an old barn in the hollow before retreating to some dank cubicle to cross off our days remaining.

In this aging epoch of ours, is it too late to envision a return to something different? Is there a rite, an investiture in the holy office of simple labor, a smoking censer swinging high and low that would cleanse our mess with a restorative blessing, allowing us to stay, to work on and with the earth? Would any supplication now offered find a listening and sympathetic ear?

Does our lover even love us anymore? Spurned for so long, paved over and ignored, gouged and robbed, would she still have us? Even want us? Always we acted as the domestic abuser, so will our promises of changed behavior now be believed?

We should have known, could have read the marriage register held deep in the vaults, that she had dallied with five other lovers and outlived each. That record telling of a vast patience, taught over four and half billion years.

Taught, that even now she has already conspired with her next consort to bury us deep in the rock.

We are mists, vanishing.