Passages in the Aftermath
(Sun Series #11)

Trail 74

It all begins innocently enough
above the old gold mill
in fine gravel, pale beige,
with secret towhees and juncos
kicking up duff.

From here…
to keep climbing
I must look down
taking careful, measured steps.
The last monsoonal storm of the season
set forth a torrent here
to erase the trailmaker’s craft,
exposing sharp points of pink and gray,
fragments of ores in green and blue,
pyritic reflections,
and chunks of quartz:
white or smoky, with hints of violet.
To keep climbing then
is to rise through the junipers and piñons,
with their somber trunks, on one side
and far views of tan stone columns
on the other. The oaks keep changing.
The way turns ’round the side of the mountain.
To keep climbing,
I enter a grove of Douglas fir and ponderosa,
of inky blue-black, crested jays,
and the oaks keep changing.

One sapling fir stands all roughed up,
the target of some randy buck.
And one pine bough
holds a strange new growth
below its needles, bright ochre,
almost fluorescent.

I stop there to stare
and then look past it into the sky,
sensing luminous turquoise and amethyst spirits
of injured muses, hovering, and higher yet,
one dear, lost lover.

I hesitate to keep climbing,
standing still until a pair of ravens
flies overhead with news
that it’s time to descend.

Many hidden birds make themselves seen
on the way back down.

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The Departure of Wolf by Mark P. Widrlechner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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