Sunday, May 27, 2018

work and play on the slopes of Mt. Guyot

Ramsay Cascades

the wearing intensity of the hike
shrinks my world and centers it on the next step,
on the sweat drip dropping off my forehead,
on the doubts that want to swallow me,

I only briefly notice the foam flowers who jewel the woods,
the rich green tunnels through which I labor up, and up,
the stream that laughs at me as it calmly dances down the mountain,

when I reach my destination, Ramsay Cascades,
my world opens up again into wonder,

a great gray bedrock monolith of sandstone
holds against the gravity well enough
to allow the Prong to play and cavort,
to leap and splash as it celebrates in white the air within,
Thunderhead Sandstone never looks more smoothly buff
than it does here,

no trail goes further up this valley than to the Cascades,
so the next two miles of valley are pristine
until the Appalachian Trail allows the illusion of human control,

our very presence in the wild can change what we love.

by Henry H. Walker
May 22, ‘18

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