November 7, 2015
I escaped the farm
as a backcountry packer
of mules, to the rhythm
of hooves and draw chains—
found my way lost in awe
yet branded in my mind.
There was another world—
girls in town to think about
up and down the Sierra’s spine,
Wolfman Jack on the transistor,
boss and soul, rock and roll
for company by the fire.
I called to faraway faces
over falling starlit peaks,
the granite scree glittering
into Tamarack timberlines
as I lay down each night
to dream on solid ground.
Out of wonder by wild design,
like greenheads rising, our ascension
from cattail ooze on a Sabbath
when I was a boy surprised
with my father—and all times since
shaking off the last glistening drops
to fly—no church or sermon necessary
to feel whole, to shed the nonessentials,
to become awestruck, he implied.
Even the shadow beneath the ridge
of a rattlesnake track teaches
by design, direction and urgency
left to fade within the long history
of earth. We cannot help building
fences in our minds to keep the wild
away and apart from our selfishness.
But only out of wonder may we remove
the barbed wire from our hearts.