Saturday, July 13, 2013

water roars in the present

a canyon of the Tetons

our purpose today is a last big hike on this West trip:
to climb out of the comfortable valley
to the hanging lip of Death Canyon,
where the mild flowing stream
escapes the gentle slope of the high alpine valley
to roar white and magnificent,
as cataracts of cascades create with what the contorted stone allows,

that pre-Cambrian rock all rough and ruggedly grey,
all infused with mica and igneous intrusions,

which reaches high despite gravity’s pull and pull,
this rock lives in the past and lives with the weight of memory,
while water lives in the present
and becomes whatever the moment demands,
and here it seems to fall with joy,

the moose we hear about in the high valley
don’t show themselves for us,
while flower after flower do reveal a ubiquitous perfection,

what most deeply moves us
is the water roaring white within the upthrust
of the sharp framing walls of this glorious Teton canyon.

by Henry H. Walker
June 28, ’13

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