Share36 https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2015/jul/Stafford_Lesson.mp3A Lesson in Time We stood on a forest road at the meadow’s edge so Joe could teach the story of geologic time. Mateo set a little flag—red tatteron a rusted wire—to mark the miasmic gathering when earth first clenched dust by the stern affection we call gravity.In the meadow, grass wavered, and was still. Then Charles began to step off eons through the Hadean Period, as low sunlit the pines gold. We arrived at the Iron Catastrophe. Mateo set a flag and Ruby laid down a stem of grass.Under a sky made blue by oxygen bacteria had formed, once volcanism spewed steam from burnt stone, wemarched on. At each extinction, or new creation, Mateo set a flag and Ruby placed her stem of grass,until Joe pulled two hairs from my head to set in the dust. “The thickness of these two strands,” he said, “we’ll callthe span of civilization.” Mateo set a flag, and Ruby placed a stem of grass. https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2015/jul/Stafford_DoYouNeed.mp3Do You Need Anything from the Mountain?Could you bring me a smudge of camas blue, and the whisper whistle of that one pine at the edge of the meadow at dusk, when daygives a lost, last breath? Bring me the road that becomes deep duff as it trails away into the forest, young firs ten feet tallalong the hump between the old ruts. Bring me a story you hear in dark silence after the last light, the gone that gathers dewin the fingers not to hold, carry away, but only to feel. Bring me that skein of fire that hangs in intimate eternity, afterthe dark but before the thunder, when the bounty of yearning in one cloud reaches toward another, in each being’sendless, impossible desire to complete itself before falling away. Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, where he has taught writing since 1979. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft and A Thousand Friends of Rain: New & Selected Poems. His most recent books are 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared, and Wind on the Waves: Stories from the Oregon Coast.Photo of wet leaf on forest road courtesy Shutterstock.