Oh the Places You’ll Beau!

When the publisher says we need a poem for a colleague’s going-away-to-hike-the-Appalachian-Trail party, you better believe I’m all over that shit. (With thanks/apologies to Dr. Seuss, of course.)

places

 

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
They’re your Appalachians!

(Though we begged you to stay.)

 

You have beard on your head

And feet in your boots;

You can hike yourself

Wherever it suits.

You’re on your own. And you like what you like.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to hike.

 

You’ll look up and down trees, look them over with care.

About some you will say, “Oh my goodness! A bear!”

With your head full of beard and your pack full of pants,

You’re too smart to look at the wildlife askance.

 

And you may find some ticks.

And you may find some snakes.

And you may trip on sticks—

Do whatever it takes.

 

It’s Beau-ier there

In the brisk mountain air.

 

Up there stuff can happen

And frequently does

To people as beardy

As you and your fuzz.

 

And when it starts raining

Don’t worry, don’t fret.

Just keep on refraining:

“It’s fun being wet.”

 

Oh! The places you’ll Beau!

 

You’ll hike your way up!

You’ll hike your way down!

You’ll hike through the mountains

And sometimes a town.

 

You won’t lag behind, because you’ve got the beard.

You’ll make lots of new friends; you shall be revered.

Wherever you hike, you’ll love it, we swear.

Wherever you go, you’re supposed to be there.

 

Except when you’re not.

Please don’t get shot.

 

I’m sorry to tell you

But it might be scary

Even for someone

So Beau-like and hairy.

 

You might hurt your back.

You might see a yeti.

You might burn your pack

Of freeze-dried spaghetti.

 

And when you feel low

And your feet start to hurt,

You might be quite slow

Getting up off the dirt.

 

You will come to a place where the path gets so steep

That your happy-feet pace will be harder to keep.

The path may be slippery, pointy and mean.

Can you make it around? Can you go in between?

Do you know where to go? Do you know where you’ve been?

 

And if you should stumble, or fall on your butt,

Or slide down a mountain, or get in a rut,

Or step your boots into some icky poo piles,

You’ll know you’re prepared for these challenging trials—

‘Cause that’s just the nature of two thousand miles.

 

You can get so confused

That you’ll start to wonder

If you really should carry this stuff that you’re under

Your pack and your spirit may both fall asunder

And you shall be tempted to make a great blunder.

The Standing-Still Blunder.

 

For people standing still.

Standing to keep their place in line.

Or to worry about bills, or to remember and pine,

Or to cry a good cry, or to whine a good whine,

Or to watch someone go, or to tell them they’re fine,

Or to wait for a change, or to avoid a bad sign,

Or just standing still till the clock strikes nine.

Everyone is just standing still.

 

Standing still for the time to come

Or standing still to rest their bum

Or standing still right there where they’re from

Or standing, perhaps, because that’s what they’re told

Or standing still as they wait to grow old

Or standing still so that they’ll feel tall

Or standing still for no reason at all.

Everyone is just standing still.

 

No! That’s not for Beau!

 

Somehow you’ve escaped

All that standing and staying

Your life will be shaped

By hiking and playing.

 

With the sun in your beard,

Once more you’ll walk tall,

All the gear you can haul

And the bears you can maul.

 

Oh the places you’ll Beau! There is fun to be hiked!

There are mountains to climb, there are peaks to be piked,

And the magical things you can do with this trail

Will make you a teller of a helluva tale.

Blog! Your stories will generate one million hits!

You’ll crash all our websites! Mark will have fits!

 

Or maybe they won’t.

(Mark says, “Please don’t.)

 

I’m afraid that sometimes

You’ll play lonely games, too.

At those times, try bathing—

You might smell like poo.

 

All alone!

Whether you showered or no,

Sometimes on the trail

It’ll just be a Beau.

 

And when you’re a Beau, there might come a time

When into your head there will pop this here rhyme

To remind you of life when you’d write and you’d edit—

Just be sure that you’re giving me all of the credit.

 

But on you will Beau

While we’re all back here

On you will Beau

You’ll be less and less near

On you will Beau

Though you’re craving a beer

Onward up many

A beautiful peak

Though your beard will get long

And your clothes will get reek.

 

On and on you will hike

And I know you’ll hike far—

Are you sure that you don’t

Want to try it by car?

 

And we’ll miss you, of course,

As you already know.

We’ll miss you but also

We’re proud that you go.

So be sure when you step

To remember us here

Doing 10 times the sitting

With none of the gear.

Just never forget that you’re part of the mag;

We’ll talk of you often—in fact, we will brag.

 

And will you get through?

Yes, be sure that you do.

(But really what matters is what works for you.)

 

Kid, you’ll climb mountains.

 

So…

Be you editor, techie, hippie or no,

Be somebody awesome—somebody named Beau,

You’re leaving for Georgia, to Maine you will go.

Your mountains are waiting, so on with the show!

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