A science which does not bring us
nearer to God is worthless.
– Simone Weil (“Waiting for God”)
I follow the raindrops up—
a tricky ascension from wet ground
to a cold, leaky cloud held
in place by the Sierras,
yet gravity keeps my feet in the mud.
I send my mind instead,
pummeled by pellets
until it rests well above my flesh
in a swirl of cooling gases
to float upon fresh water
risen and distilled from the Pacific,
from around an impure world.
Our breath and flesh is washed with it,
leaves and landscape, yesterday’s
tracks erased when the sun shines,
the earth renewed once more.
I step off on Sulphur Peak
and slide through poison oak
into the East Fork, then follow the creek
to the smoke from our woodstove.