Desolation Wilderness, south, in September,
following the fall of the foot to the trail
each time deeper
into the sky.
Was it the broken flow of dream-light,
the rustle of splintered words
or morning’s pools of gentle press
that suggests a different shore ?
Rising late in the east, moon
lights the tops of the trees,
then downward the trunk
lengths, to finally
Skirting the northern edge of Lower Echo Lake,
moving west above Upper Echo and to the shores
of Tamarack, setting camp to its east among trees,
clear blue sky turning dark and chilled—first stars,
east and south aside the fulling moon, resonant
—the pulse of surrounding stones.
A not altogether unreasonable goal
might well be to reach more for what
discomfort may have to offer.
Down from Suzie Lake
into the east, canyon walls
glow copper, aspen leaves
Climbed Mt. Talac today, up from Gilmore Lake,
ascending 1,400 ft to 9,700, at 74 years, 11 months
and 3 weeks of age; but who’s counting?
Lake Aloha holds place below north facing slopes of the Crystal Range.
The jagged peaks that reach almost 10,000 feet are those just missed
by churning glacial scrape that sheared clean to the bottom,
to flattened fissured networks of semi-submerged stone islands
amidst clear blue, snow and spring-fed waters stretching
most of two miles today: the pushed front-end of centuries
that readily escapes all efforts of the paltry scratch of a pen.
Headlamp off, journal closed,
tent illumined in moon glow.
The primary devotion
in the high country is to breath.
This unquestioned touch-stone
of well-being is never taken for granted
here—songs are sung to it.
Lake Lucille nestles in a small bowl
of scraped boulders, perched at the edge
of a deep gorge that widens into valleyed landscapes
and surrounding peaks. Abundant spruce, lodgepole pine
and ponderosa, coloring scrub and golden aspen, soften
this rock bound plateau to murmurs of retreat.
Moving from point to point, one outcrop or dome to another,
we can trace most of the last four days’ trek. Here we rest
and reflect, here day lets silence have its way, lets the rocks
take us in and birds slowly begin to show.
sips of shared brandy
on a boulder overlooking
lake filled valleys.
Liturgies of the senses.
is to know
Portola Redwoods State Park
The seventy-fifth year begins
with a full bladder, a zipped sleeping bag
and chilled, shadowy air held in place in part
by towering pillars of unquestioning presence,
ancient celebrants of here, now.
The bag’s zipper speaks to open, then the tent’s,
softened earth receives the pee, upturned eyes
catch the play of the branch-crossed moon
and the head bows.
The deeper tangles of younger fears,
the longing for answers, for lasting form,
let go, open the free-step breath-work
of crossing the unmarked snow
of old age.
trumps by virtue of its commonness.
Our part, to bring to bear the currencies
of talk, coming to see better
where we are and how.
Through the window, the moon,
fulsome above the ridge line,
juxtaposed with two ceiling lights
reflected on the inside glass,
all three appearing round, all
borrowed light given back.
Especially in small town america,
passing by others so close sleeves touch
suggests at least the lifting of eyes,
wouldn’t you think?