Ann Keiffer


Before GPS, road signs or chiseled
monuments, travelers left messages
for those who might follow by gathering
rocks and stacking them in cairns—
to show the way, to mark a location,
to honor the dead, to offer tribute.

This week, on a slow curve of sidewalk
among trees, I discovered a cairn of a
special kind. At first sight it was a dazzling
curiosity: A rock nearly knee-high with
one brilliantly-colored liquid-amber leaf
standing straight up on its slender stem,
like a flag, in the rock’s cleft top. Bedazzle
shot me through with a God-thrill.

I drew closer and discovered a spiky, round
burr from the liquid-amber tree wedging
the stem tight, keeping the leaf in place,
standing upright. And near the base of the
rock was a ledge, small as an elf-shelf,
and on the shelf two small stones were
balanced one atop another, not by chance.

My breath caught. Somewhere not far
away lives someone who built a cairn,
a secret marker, an altar in the woods of
suburbia. A rock, a leaf, two stones,a few
moments set aside to make the day holy.
Something in me let go…
I fell from my solo trapeze,
coming down in the jeweled net
of Infinite Communion.

Ann L. Keiffer
October, 2010


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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