The last four years have been a nightmare for our public lands, our waters, our…
A Haibun of Privilege in Columbine Canyon
At pavement’s end I walk quickly and quietly past the Texans. I give them just a nod and rush the trail’s bend before they can ask directions. Rising into the broad valley I pass Stuart and his llamas. I am going up. They are going down. Stuart and I hug. There are seven llamas and they all have packs. A girl guiding one llama with a rope asks me if I know the animal. I do, I say. That’s Bucky, isn’t it? That’s right, she says and she skips along the trail towards the pavement. I continue up along the creek. I cross the watercourse: first by bridge, then by log, then by stone. High spruce-dressed hills climb at the sky while their flanks collapse into fields of scree. The trail narrows and the cottonwoods, alders and box elders crowds in around me.
Humid buzzing woods,
burbling vireo song,
and flycatcher ‘seet’.
Blossoms shade gurgling flow.
Wild shelter from city bloody tarmac.
Here, up and far past the road’s end I push on. The meadows appear on occasion, filled with paintbrush and rose and shooting star and penstemon. The elevation has me breathing hard and the gain has me dripping in sweat. There is a breeze bending the tops of the tallest trees but I can’t feel it down here. Now and again the clouds cross over, blocking the sun and dropping the wind to the ground. I lift my shirt and feel the cool graze across my sweaty back. Then it is gone. Later, I cross the springs that feed the creek. I gain the ridge above the slight waterfall with the deep rumble where aspen shelter fresh bear paw prints pressed into mud.
Just for a moment, America, I don’t have to think of you now. At least I have that privilege.
~ ~ ~