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”

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

The Incessant Wind

2 people standing on a rock and looking out at the mountains
Watching the Wind

Turn and face the wind,
And feel the voice,
Touch your skin.

Close your eyes,
And drink it in.
To your past,
You are akin.

An unknown something,
Makes you stir.
What’s behind you,
Is a blur.

Some people, paths, and places,
Are familiar yet unknown.
You see no one with you on your journey,
Yet you never feel alone.

Yesterday is always there,
Standing quietly by your side.
Forever it is with you,
As your mentor and your guide.

Whether it slaps you in the face,
Or nudges at your back.
The wind is your friend,
And helps you down the track.

No matter if it roars,
Or sings a lullaby,
It always blows around you,
And will never say goodbye.

So, rejoice that it’s there.
Know the power of your yore.
Seize the moments of your day,
And treasure times that came before.

Descending into a valley in Bolivia.

Wilderness

A photograph of a mountain lake reflecting the surrounding mountains

The wilderness welcomes with whispers and wind,
Vast deserts, huge mountains,
And forests unthinned.

A place where rainstorms, blizzards, and droughts,
Coexist with the fog,
The clear skies, and mist.

It beckons and hides,
Lures and derides.
It comes and goes,
Just like the tides.

It conceals vast treasures,
But opens its arms,
To all who would seek them
And sounds no alarms.

Constantly changing.
Extreme to serene.
From wildfire and thunder,
To calm and wonder.

It comes in all shapes
And in many sizes.
Its horizons expansive
And full of surprises.

Even though
Many folks never go
To lands faraway and wild.
It’s good to know
They still exist.
That frontiers yet persist.

Whether you hike into such places
With your body or your mind,
Rejoice in the magic that there you’ll surely find.
As you immerse yourself in its wonder,
Take a moment to relish and ponder.

And don’t try to make it better,
Nature’s working on those tasks.
Just leave it like it is,
That’s all it ever asks.

Continue reading “Wilderness”

Sitting on the Summit– Revisited

a mountain climber sitting on the top of a mountain and looking at the surroundings
So much to see

On top of the mountain
Looking out,
And thinking about,
What you see.

Clouds float past,
Racing fast,
Where do they go?
Perhaps that fact,
I’ll never know.

Something shining and changing,
A reflection I suppose.
Not moving, just bouncing
The sunshine as it goes.

A road across the valley,
Headed toward the hill,
Passes by a frozen lake,
And I can feel the chill.

Crows passing by,
High in the sky.
Flying is something,
I’d like to try.

Rest, relax, ponder, breathe.
Soak it in.

Sitting still,
A moment longer,
Thinking harder,
Feeling stronger.

And then,
There’s even more to soak in…..

A Marmot scampers,
A warm wind whistles,
A sweet smell fills my nose,
A distant storm erupts,
A Pika chirps,
A lone Columbine catches my eye.

No mystery has been solved,
No thing resolved.
More questions,
Than answers.

But for another moment,
Rest, relax, ponder, breathe,
Soak it all in.

Audio Version: 

Man and girl sitting high up above Copper Canyon looking down at the surrounding area

Bigger than Life

mountain landscape
Everywhere you look

It ebbs and flows,
And comes and goes.
Astounding, profounding,
And sometimes confounding.

Feel the pulse that proves it lives,
Drink the moments that it gives.
Touch the ground beneath your feet,
Hear the rhythm and the beat.

Gentle giant that roars and cries,
See the magic with your eyes.
Ever-present in our lives,
Often injured yet survives.

Quietly listen to the words,
Watch the movements of the herds.
Restless, patient, wise, and strong,
Always right, but sometimes wrong.

It answers every call,
No matter big or small.
Pushing forward from within,
Always there through thick or thin.

Like a force field in the air,
That commands life everywhere.
With silent words of endless hope,
That connects things like a rope.

Breathe it in and soak it up,
Let the nectar fill your cup.
Mother Nature, rest assured,
Always has the final word.

Audio Version:

A pot of gold awaits

Elk in the Mosquito Range- Revisited

The Colorado Rockies

There must’ve been close to 100 elk filling the valley below me, and I was astounded. I didn’t want to do anything to call attention to myself, so I just sat there quietly, peering over the boulder from afar. It was some sort of luck or fate that put me in that right place and at the right time, because getting into a position to see a big bunch of wild animals was not one of my goals for that day.

Continue reading “Elk in the Mosquito Range- Revisited”

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