Wednesday, August 4, 2010

up the green slopes

LeConte Calls: We Answer

the mountain calls to us
and we work our way up its green slopes--
passing by streams, rivulets, and trickles heading the other way,

flowers, bushes, and trees hold against that dropping down,
the rocks here seem to feel that pull keenly,
the trail demands rebuilding all the time,

near the top we stop for lunch
and soon thunder announces a visitor coming,
sure enough, throughout our last mile and a half,
enough rain comes to cool us off, sodden our pockets,
and wet the places sweat hasn’t gotten to yet,

at the lodge: good roofs, hot drinks, and dry clothes refresh us,
a filling supper, then outside, I am drawn to wildflowers
who make their beds and make me want to lie in them,

clouds thin enough to show there is a sun
and I snap picture after picture
of rustic grey buildings within fields of yellow cone-flowers

who echo the sun who visits only for a few minutes
before racing clouds hide him away
and keep him away all through sunset,

before sunrise the clouds are still all around us,

compressing space and denying the moon and stars are still up there,
while it’s still dark I start on the way to sunrise,
out on a rock promontory 30 minutes away,
the mist diffuses everywhere and washes out contrast
where the ground is open to the sky,
there’s a soft grey to the almost luminescent slated stones in the trail,
dead trees, like pillars, are black sentinels of the night, marking my passing,
where the spruce-fir close above me against the sky
the gloom deepens to black before my feet,

I make it halfway out without a flashlight until a wet stone trips me,
and I give in to shining a beam of light before me,
thus I lost the gestalt feel of all that’s aroud me,
and I settle for the narrow focus of just what’s in its light,
only a way to know where to put my foot,
I joy once I no longer need its crutch
which both helps me and reduces nature and me to the mere practical,
the breaking of morning is beautiful
but never opens into a view that also holds distance within it,
the view only opens wide when we’re partway down the mountain after breakfast,

when we near the cabin we look up and see the mountain top
still lost within the clouds billowing wide ad high--
a great cumulous towers directly above the lodge itself and sits on their view,

we hear the next day sunset and rise are both open,
and I get mad at myself for being jealous
rather than fully accepting that I need to fit within the universe
and not always strive to force it to fit me.

by Henry Walker
August 1, ’10

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