Wednesday, November 7, 2018




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 
the ground.

Nothing missed.


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 
quiver gold.


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.


High-mountain communion:

sips of shared brandy 
on a boulder overlooking 
lake filled valleys.

Liturgies of the senses.


To wake 
a rest-
less night
to see 


is to know 
all is 
all right.


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.


The “tradition-of-being-alive”
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.


—Our times

Especially in small town america,
passing by others so close sleeves touch 

suggests at least the lifting of eyes,

wouldn’t you think?

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