Courtesy: The Summit Post
If ever there was a table set
on the John Muir Trail,
it was picked clean
by Steller Jays
in the midden around
a black circle of stones.
The trail is wide
through Rae Lakes
beneath Fin Dome—
slick leather soles
on the Serpent’s back—
my name is in the box
above the fractured chimney
where I held a tourist
pregnant from falling.
Saved two risking one.
I leave again without the work,
without the pack stock,
without the traffic on the trail
whenever I want
to cast clear water
to green submarines
cruising a hidden lake
that I suspect
the world has found
and picked clean.
for Tim Loverin
Temperatures in the single digits, we left blowing snow outside Tonopah a week ago in Nevada’s Great Basin. Since we have gathered our last bunch of cows and calves to brand this morning to a forecast high of 76°. Here the hillsides are green, spattered with early patches of golden poppies and fiddleneck, as white popcorn flowers begin to creep up the lower slopes. The visual and mental contrasts from Elko to Dry Creek are startling, two different worlds either side of the Great Western Divide within a week’s time.
It’s rare to see across the San Joaquin Valley to the California Coast Range anymore, over the small community of Elderwood, from the Paregien Ranch, then look east to the Kaweah Peaks of the Great Western Divide, and Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park — a good air day!
Posted in Photographs, Ranch Journal
Tagged California Coast Range, Elderwood, Great Western Divide, Kaweah Peaks, Moro Rock, Paregien Ranch, photographs, San Joaquin Valley, Sequoia National Park, Sierra Nevada, weather
Now I carry those days in a tiny box
wherever I go.
– William Stafford (“Remembering”)
I feel for pocket-knife, keys and wallet,
handkerchief, cigarettes and lighter
before I pull on my boots, find my glasses
and pick which hat to meet the day’s
surprises, but this tiny box is always
with me. Before daylight, I crack the lid
to see what wants out on paper: a river,
a lake or Sierra pass take shape, pine smoke
curls through cedar boughs and I am
there with coffee before an eager fire
on another cold morning. Here money
buys nothing, and no more than paper
to ignite wet kindling after a thunderstorm,
all other urgencies are washed away, shed
downstream to mix and pool in the Valley—
like the Christmas flood of ‘67, when
they shipped food and freight into Visalia
by boat in May. We think we have
seen extremes, but the San Joaquin
has always been changing—begun
in the mountains, days above it all away.