Mark with an X
a particular summit on the map.
Strap your pack at the trailhead
and go, crunching boot heels, climbing
into the horizon’s early glow.
Let’s not ask why you need to get there.
And, when you arrive, sweat-sopped, panting . . .
it’s only human to bask in the quaver
of blood-rush, muscle, bone.
Behold, if you can bear it,
far-off peaks and purple vistas
shimmering in the midday haze.
Clusters of X’s to mark on the map,
a lifetime of excursions,
a galaxy of destinations.
Now, you make your way back down
same way you came,
no longer blinded with ambition,
and pause to apprehend
marvels you’d passed hurriedly, earlier.
An underground stream seeping through granite,
moist rock greening precarious gardens
of moss, thread-like runners and miniature fronds
clinging to decay . . . as the flow burbles
up from darkness, and sunlight sparks
ice blue tongues of flame.
– From Earth-blood & Star-shine