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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Camping in the Cascades

(Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams,
1902-1984, American photographer)

Step back to get the whole picture.


Hungry for bootprints, shades of differences,
we've come to think like the earth.
In the valley below, it was summer,
dim air-conditioned houses sulked,
days flat as fallow fields.
We climb back in time:
yellow fawn lilies, shooting stars,
ferns curled tight as snails.

We meet grimed climbers coming down,
each wrapped in a heavy calm
that bears the unsteady weight of each foot.
Out of the blue, one mountain
after another steps forward, beckoning.
How far can we go?
Finally at Deep Lake, other tents
scattered along the shore,
we eat and watch a half moon rise.
The stars that guided seafarers,
kings, whole millenniums of geese,
awaken slowly in uninterrupted sky.

Our lives shrink to incandescent flames
that blink on the surface of the lake.
Smoke climbs its rope of air
and disappears into the dark
like our own best thoughts.
Nocturnal eyes open, claws flex.
Faithfully, we lie on the ground
spinning slowly through space.
Heavenly bodies shine through our sleep.

~ Joseph Powell, American poet

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