Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mt. LeConte and us

trek and overnight

how wonderful that my aging body 
can still ascend, and descend,
a great mountain in the Smokies, 
with every step up and down, I celebrate life
by being able to walk and to walk in beauty,
the number of years before me,
within which my systems will still work, 
I realistically hope for single digits,
I’d love more, I fear for less,
for now, I savor the steps,
the trail, the views, the flowers,

a sunset that quiets the tongue
and expands the spirit into joy,


our annual Mt. LeConte trek and overnight
fulfills my hopes and quiets my fears,
sunrise is of mist, 

the subtlety of the gray, the close,
a reminder that beauty is what reveals itself,
not just what we want,

the trails on the mountain work 
with what the mountain gives, when they can:
the way follows a stream, a ridge top,

often, though, the way has to be hacked out of the stone,

ascending steep slopes who do not like the trail
and flake it off if they have a chance,
this mountain runs east-west with rock promontories on each end
that serve as pedestals upon which to watch the sun
bring a glorious end to the day and to wake the next day with hope,
though clouds love to settle on the mountain and hide distance,

too little nature can act as a poison on our systems,
“nature deficit disorder” a new term
for an ache to be in the wild
where the flora can be as garden, 
but one without our touch,
where the fauna can enchant us:
a snail, a bird, a bear,

where the truths of our experience 
are those of our mother, the Earth,

our bodies need to work, and a mountain requires that effort,
our souls need to work, and a mountain helps us return to our roots,

the Cherokee called this great mountain Walisiyi,
we honor it, and it honors us, whenever we are together.

Top of Mt.LeConte, 7/28/18, just outside Dining Hall, our group of 43

by Henry H. Walker
July 31, ‘18

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