Giants Walking

August 5, 2014

Splat of rain drops on tarp sheet and pine trees– 

I close my eyes and push my feet

further down into my sleeping bag, zipped up

twelve inches or so, then spread open at the top

to cover my torso and my sleeping dog. 


I listen. 


“It sounds like crackling of an open fire,” I said to my brother,

who from his tent just a few feet over replied, 

“Or fireworks way off in the distance.” 


We listened some more – 

splat of rain drops on tarp sheet and pine trees

and into our water bottles: 32 ounces overflowing

in less than five minutes. 

Put out another bottle, and another– 

cold, refreshing interconnection with Earth and Sky. 

Then more clouds–touchable–seeping in through the trees, 

wisps of gray permeating the spaces with more emptiness

until all that remains is the collective nothingness 

of our being. 


At 2 a.m. we headed down the mountain to get out of the storm,

finally heeding the warnings of two gray jays. 

Down we went–quickly–dripping wet pine needles glowing

incandescent white-hot in the light of our headlamps; 

illuminated traces of a secret, nocturnal wilderness world

floating about us: drifting insects, falling pine tree pollen,

forest particles shimmering in the dimly-lit, thin alpine air. 

Fresh black bear scat on the trail ahead, and a canine

nose to the ground, then up in the air, then all fours stopped

to breathe the presence of others in this great web of life. 

Though we cannot see them, they are there,

and they are watching us.


Down… down… across the switchbacks,

Creek Song growing from a distant soft hushing

(like a gentle breeze blowing through trees)

to the much closer roaring of dense moisture shaken  

from chains of stone giants in the mist. 

Foot over paw we marched, across the creek and more, until 

at once the forest opened her arms

and released us from her embrace. 

My heart swells with love for her–for the jays in the pines

and all that shimmers in the night

from the peaks to the valleys of the Sawatch Mountains–

chains of giants walking free.


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