Monster Shadows

 

Where monsters lurk

Cast your shadow,
Moonlight bright.
Wake the moment,
Stir the night.

Treetops sparkle,
With muted light.
Boulders hiding,
On my right.

Something scampers,
Taking flight.
It’s small and quick,
With stripes of white.

Night sounds near,
But out of sight.
Do I run,
Or stand and fight?

A distant shriek,
Causes fright.
But nothing gets me,
And I’m all right.

To the campfire,
Still flickering bright.
Its guarding sphere,
A realm of light.

Flames mostly yellow,
A few are white.
At first, I stare
But then look right.

What is that there,
Beyond my sight?
Out in the darkness,
Of the night.

Unseen monsters,
I think to fight.
And once again,
I ponder flight.

Then magically,
There’s no more fright.
The monsters flee
It’s first daylight.

Audio Version: 

The forest at night

Good Senses

Looking into the Copper Canyon backcountry

Starry nights
And faraway lights.
Where storm clouds go
And a wild lightning show.

Above the peak
And the end of the trail.
Crossing a log
And staying out of the bog.

Warm days in winter
And fields full of color.
Snowfall in summer
And a distant drummer.

Intriguingly perched boulders
And birds flying south.
The movements of herds
And undefined words.

Second winds found
And hills lit by the sun.
Uncharted miles
And grandeur that smiles.

Mysterious corners
And faces in logs.
Waves rolling in
And time without end.

Branches all tangled
And stickers that stick.
Why campfires smoke
And cause you to choke.

The bacon that’s cooking
And ants that don’t bite.
Dust Devils on the horizon
And moments that wizen.

Unknown new roads
And scratching an itch.
At the top of the climb
And the future time.

Life fills up your mind
And lights up your path.
So, free your spirit to wander,
There’s so much to ponder.

Audio Version:

A campfire to smell

Showtime

Stars of the show

See the face
In clouds that race
Across the sky
Into your eye.

Feel the touch
Of ground and such.
Of rocks and sand
And unknown land.

Hear the quiet
Of ants that riot,
Rocks that hum,
And falling crumb.

Smell the rain,
The ripened grain,
Unbridled mare,
And newborn air.

Taste the dust
And gulp the gust.
Drink dripping ice.
Make dirt your spice.

Chew the fat.
Watch the gnat.
Touch the grime,
And yucky slime.

Feed the campfire,
Avoid the briar,
Ski the scree,
Don’t squish a flea

Sit and ponder,
Look and wander.
Always more to know
In nature’s show.

Audio Version:

Waterfall on the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie

Rich

backpacker walking down a dirt road in the mountains with the Aspen trees turninggolden.

Count your wealth
In soaring trees,
Dunes of sand,
And sprawling seas.

In Limestone rocks,
Granite faces,
Grassy meadows,
And open spaces.

In thorny cactus,
Whitetail Deer,
Rolling plains,
And rivers clear.

In moonlit nights,
Gentle snows,
Trails of dirt,
And cawing crows.

In Bison herds,
Buzzing bees,
Starry nights,
And cooling breeze.

In boulder fields,
First raindrops,
Boggy creeks,
And mountain tops.

In waterfalls,
Cedar breaks,
Grizzly Bears.
And big snowflakes.

In gurgling springs,
Hungry snakes,
Wild raspberries,
And alpine lakes.

In Aspen groves,
Wild mountain honey.
Spring wildflowers,
And days all sunny.

In vast pine forests,
Pecan bottoms,
Briar patches,
And colorful autumns.

So count your blessings
Not your gold.
Nature’s rich,
“Look, behold.”

Audio Version:

Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande

 

Dancing to Beyond

Two sorts of trails

Wander with intent
And dance with the winds.

They’ll lead you down the trail
To a place where life transcends.

Feel the ground beneath your feet
As you twirl and whirl and swirl.

Move into unknown spaces,
See nature’s light unfurl.

Hear the heartbeat as it rumbles,
Feel the rhythm throbbing sweetly.

Smell the roses in their glory,
Pass the moments indiscreetly.

Go where the breezes take you,
Let your limits fall behind.

Be a whirlwind marching onward
Full of pureness unrefined.

Turn loose of what constrains you
As you enter what’s ahead.

Then marvel at where you’ve gone
And at the place your path has led.

Audio Version:

Backpacking

So Much Beautiful

 

Late afternoon light- Batopilas Canyon, Mexico

The Sun rises.
It brings light
And warmth with it.

A violent thunderstorm
Heads on to the east
And a double rainbow
Forms where it used to be.

Eight buzzards catch an updraft
And soar effortlessly
Above the valley.

A young family piles into their car
And heads to town
For donuts.

The Herefords stop grazing.
They turn their butts into the wind,
Face the sun, and close their eyes
To soak in the warmth.

The slow, gentle rain stops.
Almost instantaneously,
The green of the meadow
Begins to glow.

A Tarahumara man sits down
And leans against a tree.
Then, he plays the violin he made.

The stoplight turns red
And the cars stop.

A mother Golden Eagle
Spends the day
Teaching her babies
To fly.

A salesman is late to an appointment.
He pulls off to the side of the road
And helps a stranger
Change their tire.

A crumbling old man talks to his cane.
A young woman
Sitting across from him answers.

An old dog crawls from under the porch
And sprawls out onto
The cool, refreshing dirt.

The drizzle stops,
The fog lifts,
And the clouds disappear.
And within a moment, blue skies erupt.

A kid stops, reaches down,
And picks up a nasty used Styrofoam cup.
She stuffs it into her back pocket
To throw away later.
And no one is watching.

Spring arrives in the mountains.
A snowdrift melts and
Is replaced by
A Calypso Orchid.

A volcano blows its lid.
Lava begins to pour out
And a new island is born.

A mountain climber reaches the top.
Before celebrating and relishing the view,
He turns and belays up the person 50 feet behind.

A dead Spruce tree
Falls and blocks a trail in the forest.
A new path begins.

The Sun sinks in the west.
Alpenglow briefly consumes the mountains.

The couple sits on their deck.
They ponder the horizon,
As a full moon rises over the hill.

Small, but integral parts
Of a beautiful day
That never ends.

———————————————————–

Audio Version:

Sharing in Ecuador

Morning on the Trail

Backpacker hiking up slick rock in Mexico's Copper Canyon
Backpacking up the slick rock in Copper Canyon

Out of the tent and into the morning,
What will the new day have to say?

The fresh morning air is crisp and clear,
The soon-to-be coffee will be hot and dear,
And my mind is most certainly full of cheer.

The air is filled with a calming breeze,
I ponder how last night it got down to 38 degrees.

Heavy dew got everything wet,
I was that way, too, but mine was from sweat.

High in the sky, movement catches my eye,
I focus and see it’s a hawk floating by,
And I wish that I could also fly.

Two chipmunks scurry between nearby rocks,
The big one squeaking like a chatterbox.

I also hear the tumbling creek,
Yesterday, things were looking awfully bleak,
But today, we’ll forget that and climb the peak.

Sunlight is shining on the summit we seek,
Looking at the steepness makes my knees feel weak.

I’ll worry about that later on,
But for now, I’m just gonna relish the dawn,
And enjoy watching the newborn fawn.

Since we’re climbing Big Sandy, then returning here for the night,
We can limit our gear and travel light.
.
For the climb, we won’t need a big backpack.
We’re only taking raingear, water, and snack,
And can fit all of that into a knapsack.

I need to get the group up and going,
Before the wind starts really blowing.

The storms have started building every day at noon.
Just like during monsoon season, but it’s only June.
All the more reason to get going soon.

Thank goodness my rain jacket’s been working well,
It’s kept me dry and it’s only a shell.

The climb’s gonna be long, so I need to fill my bottles with water.
Look over there, is that an otter?
I swear those rocks are beginning to totter.

My thoughts sharply focus on the pending climb,
And I realize it’s become that time.

The sun’s rising fast,
The time for leaving has almost passed.

We won’t be cooking oatmeal,
Cause beating the storm’s, a big deal.
Our need to leave has now become real.

“Get up, pack your stuff, we’re leaving,” I shout.
“If we wanna beat the rain, we need to get out.”

“Just eat a snack,
While you get ready and pack,
We’ll do some cookin’ when we get back.”

“And zip up your tent, before we head out,
If you don’t and it rains things will get wet no doubt.”

After the flurry of action, we finally head out,
With the peak our goal, but without a route.

We cross the creek and see it’s full of trout,
And suddenly that’s all we’re thinking about.

We stop and talk about our goal for the day,
And decide it best to fish and stay.
Plus, avoiding the storm will help make it okay.

So, we turn around, and off we tramp,
From where we just left, it’s back to camp.

Once we get there, most get out their poles,
Then head back to the creek and the various fishing holes.

I stay behind and consider what’s changed,
And ponder the plan that’s been disarranged.

The climb to the top would’ve been fun,
Especially, that is, if the summit we won.

But the fish grabbed our attention,
And changed our intention.
As soon as we saw them, there was no more ascension.

And now here we are, on the banks of the creek,
Instead of climbing toward the peak.
We still have a “goal,” so to speak,
But it’s no longer the summit, it’s Brookies we seek.

Days are full of changes to plans,
Partly because there are so many cans.

Relish the moments, both subtle and profound,
Embrace all that happens and keep looking around.

Continue reading “Morning on the Trail”

Infinitense

Rejuvenance awaits

Head west and follow the sunsets,
Toward horizons always yonder.
Keep the distance in your sights,
As you hike the trail to infinitense.

Beyond the edge of what you see,
Countless moments wait to be.
And once you’re there,
You’ll set them free.

Distant magic waits to happen,
Out of sight, but not of mind.
Wake it with your presence.

So, cross the valley,
Ford the river,
Climb the ridge,
And engage the magnificence that awaits,

Infinitense beckons.

When you get there,
Drink in every drop of what you find.

See the
Thundering waters and towering waterfalls,
Huge forests teeming with life.
Desert mountains full of quandary,
Rolling prairies of waving grass.

But don’t just saturate your heart with awe.
Embrace the treasure,
Join the moment,
Replenish, refresh, reload,
And remember…

When you reach one horizon,
Another is born.

So, keep hiking.

Infinitense never leaves,
It’s forever just ahead.
And there’s always a trail that’ll take you there,
To the place beyond compare.

Audio Version:

Indian Blankets for a moment

The Heartbeat

 

Distant rope team crossing the Kahiltna Glacier
Crossing the Kahiltna Glacier in Alaska

Touch the ground with both your feet.
Feel the rhythm calmly beat.
Even through the rock and grass,
A heartbeat faintly rumbles.

Persistent pulsing
Soft, but lively.
Listen closely,
Answer wisely.

There are times it talks with words of thunder,
Howling winds, or crashing wonder.
But it’s mostly through peaceful silent breaths
That it tells its awesome tale.

Let it pull you with its rope,
And fill you up with hope.
Though you may not know the words,
It will magnify your scope.

Hear the music with your eyes,
See the clouds across the skies.
Bask in rays of winter sunshine,
And watch as waves approach the shoreline.

It is…

Star-filled nights and crispy mornings,
Tornado funnels without warnings.
Rolling dunes of glassy sand,
Forgotten places beyond man’s hand.

Gentle streams and roaring rivers,
Monstrous cliffs that give you shivers.
Fields of tundra filled with flowers,
Afternoons consumed with showers.

Rock towers covered with Bighorn Sheep,
Canyon walls so very steep.
Ocean trenches mighty deep,
Sights and sounds that make you weep.

Mountain crags and endless deserts,
Places thriving on the outskirts.
Caves reaching ever inward,
Jungles vast and still unhindered.

So many chapters in the story,
Sometimes gloom, but always glory.
So, touch the ground beneath your feet,
And feel the rhythm calmly beat.

Audio Version:

Fisherman standing on a rock in the middle of a mountain lake

Mired in the Mud

Backpackers crossing a creek
Crossing a creek

Backpacking down the trail.
I come to a creek,
And look for a crossing.
It’s a dry one I seek.

Suddenly I’m stopped,
Mired in the mud.
A boot gets stuck,
And I fall with a thud.

I feel my body,
And nothing seems hurt.
I decide to get up,
And wipe off the dirt.

Except…

The dirt that covers my hands and legs,
Is gooey, wet, and awful sticky.
And to clean it off now I realize,
Will be a task that’s mighty tricky.

So, I wade into the stream,
Where the water is wet.
Wash off the mess,
And loudly scream.

Now that I’m clean,
But thoroughly soaked.
I continue across,
My dry crossing revoked.

I clamber out of the water,
On the other side.
Drenched to the hilt.
And I begin to slide.

The weight of the backpack,
Pulls me back.
Toward the water,
And I begin to totter.

Once again I fall,
Onto my back this time.
My pack’s submerged,
But without the grime.

My stuff’s all soaked,
My elbow aches.
Getting up is hard,
And my body shakes.

Finally, I’m up,
And proceed once more.
This time careful,
As I reach the shore.

Then, it’s out of the water,
Up onto the bank.
This time it’s easy,
I have two fails to thank.

Audio Version:

backpackers on the trail
Backpacking
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