Stories

Fetching Water

 

Waiting for the water to boil

I headed to the creek to get a pot full of water
And tripped on a root on my way back to camp.
I staggered and stumbled but didn’t fall,
Then dropped the pot and spilled it all.

So, I turned around and headed back to the stream
And filled the pot up once again.
I set it down by the side of the creek
Then noticed it had a brand-new leak.

I realized that when I dropped the pot,
It must have hit a rock and cracked.
Since the leak was small, I decided to
Just run it back since the drops were few.

I kept my eyes on the pot as I hurried my pace,
That was a big mistake ‘cause I stubbed my toe.
I sat down and put the pot on a rock,
Then took off my shoe and bloody sock.

There wasn’t much to do but whimper and yell,
So, I put my shoe back on and resumed my chore.
I hadn’t thought to take the lid for the pot,
And it was too late when I had that thought.

When I reached down to grab the pot of water
Rocks and dirt fell in from my sleeve.
I watched in disbelief as the liquid turned,
It went from clear to cloudy, and I became concerned.

Thoughts of grit in the chocolate pudding
Mixed with visions of noodles with rocks.
I couldn’t stomach what lay in store,
If I didn’t go back to get water once more.

Once again, I went back to the creek,
And filled the pot with a new batch of water.
I’d more carefully hurry this time, I resolved,
And the fetching of water would finally be solved.

Back to the camp, I hastily walked,
Fully intent to return with a full pot of water.
Halfway back I rounded a bend,
And suddenly thought my life would end.

I was startled and threw the pot into the air
Then froze and looked down, not wanting to stare.
From the corner of my eye, I watched as a bear
Stood up and growled, giving me quite a scare.

But soon, the bear turned and headed away,
And I was spared a gruesome end.
But once again there was no water,
Although I’d avoided an ugly slaughter.

I took a moment to regain my composure,
And reconsider the task at hand.
I decided to change the plan and revamp,
If I wanted supper water at my nearby camp.

Once more I walked down to the creek,
And filled the pot again despite the leak.
Then I turned and headed back,
This time managing to stay on track.

It was still light when I got back to camp,
And I pulled another pot from my backpack.
I filled it with the water, covered it, and put it on to heat.
“Finally,” I thought, “I’m about to eat.”

While the water heated up,
I found the noodles in the bag.
Soon the liquid gently boiled,
But the water violently roiled.

The pot fell off the stove,
And the water poured onto the ground.
I pondered the scene and began to cry.
Then, soon thereafter I let out a sigh.

And so, I sat and feasted on dry noodles,
Ate chocolate powder with two pecans.
It wasn’t the meal I’d planned to eat,
But reckoned my quest for water had been a full defeat.

Audio Version:

Part of the View

 

I climb to a high place,
And savor the view,
So much to see,
My world seems anew.

Ground ripples below
Until it reaches a stream.
That’s flowing along
With water agleam.

Bright shiny reflection,
Small, but intense.
Catches my eye,
Creating suspense.

A big Douglas Fir,
Sways to and fro’.
Seems guarding something,
From what I don’t know.

Squirrel scampers across
A branch to my side.
It notices me,
And begins to chide.

The light moves on,
And the magnificent buck
That’s resting under a pine,
Looks more like a duck.

Out of the forest,
A trail comes forth.
Crosses below
And heads to the north.

Some animal runs,
Its movement a flash.
Then abruptly jumps into
The creek with a splash.

A rock falls from the cliff
Off to my right.
Its crash at the bottom
Creates quite a sight.

Above the horizon,
Beyond what I know,
Big mountains arise,
All capped in snow.

Where clouds meet the ground,
And land becomes sky.
The near disappears,
And far enters my eye.

Then, I realize,
That the things that I see.
Are simple, yet complex,
And all part of me.

Each time I gaze,
At the world all around.
The sights may be different,
But they always astound.

It’s heartening to know,
I have a role in the view.
I’m a cog in the world,
A part of the stew.

So, I stand up and turn,
Then go on my way.
Ready to face,
What comes as it may.

Audio Version:

Seeing the Sunset

Happy

 

Backcountry afternoon
Wind River Range, Wyoming

Happy trails
And happy snails.
Happy whales
And happy tales.

Happy days
And happy craze.
Happy phrase
And happy stays.

Happy times
And happy chimes.
Happy climbs
And happy rhymes.

Happy sight
And happy night.
Happy light
And happy mite.

Happy spots
And happy dots.
Happy oughts
And happy thoughts.

Happy trail
And happy snail.
Happy whale
And happy tale.

Happy places
And happy faces.
Happy races
And happy spaces.

Happy talks
And happy walks.
Happy hawks
And happy squawks.

Happy sounds
And happy towns.
Happy bounds
And happy grounds.

Happy sights
And happy nights.
Happy lights
And happy mites.

Happy time
And happy chime.
Happy climb
And happy rhyme.

Happy songs
And happy throngs.
Happy Kongs
And happy wrongs.

Happy theres
And happy bears.
Happy wheres
And happy pairs.

Happy words
And happy nerds.
Happy birds
And happy herds.

Happy talk
And happy walk.
Happy hawk
And happy squawk.

Happy spot
And happy dot.
Happy ought
And happy thought.

Happy sappy
And happy yappy.
Happy snappy
And happy happy.

Audio Version:

Trail Supper

Marching Always

 

Backpacking in Copper Canyon

Marching to the drummer
Across the canyon
From where I walk.

Rhythmic echoes, pounding drumbeats
Like the ticking
Of a clock.

Miles of trails and distant rivers,
Manzanitas, Oaks, and pines.
Hardened heels and herds of goats,
And long-forgotten mines.

The only time that matters,
Is how long until the night.
Move like the Raramuri,
Who keep following the light.

Dancing fiercely o’er the mesas,
With partners
Made of rock.

Often soaring skyward,
Flying freely
Like a hawk.

Layer upon layer
Of color fills the sky.
The magic of the distance
Inundates the eye.

Subtle tailwinds urge me forward
And gentle headwinds hold me back.
But like the local people,
I maintain an onward track.

Then the drumbeat fades away,
Yet still, the land has much to say.
I close my eyes and faintly hear
A beating heart that’s somewhere near.

I realize it’s underfoot,
The sound is rising
From the dirt!

It’s good to know
That even though
The drummers come and go.

The land I cross
Lives on and on,
And the beat is never gone.

Audio Version:

Marching into the canyon

The Long Way

 

A Nice Place to Sit

Let’s take the long way back,
And cross the river ‘round the bend.
If our feet get wet,
We can dry ‘em in the wind.

There’s a trail down there
That no one knows about.
And it leads to a fishin’ hole
That’s full of big ‘ole trout.

Since we’ve got our poles,
We can wet a line.
If you don’t have any flies,
You can use some of mine.

Once we’ve had our fill of that
We’ll head into the trees,
To a big red rock
With a view that’ll bring ya’ to your knees.

From there, we’ll keep goin’
‘Till we reach the Highline Trail.
We’ll take it through a meadow
Where I once got caught by hail.

Just on past that meadow, there’s a gully
Full of berries of some unknown type.
I don’t know much about ‘em,
‘Cept they taste good and should be ripe.

We’ll fill our bellies there
And when we’ve had our fill,
Head into some Aspens
And move on up the hill.

Our path will pass
By old cabins and mines.
And once up high,
There are Bristlecone Pines.

There’s a good sittin’ spot at the top,
Where we can take a break.
No doubt we’ll need to rest when we get there,
Since our legs will surely ache.

Then, we’ll walk along the treeline,
With the treetops down below.
Huge mountains fill that skyline
And the wildflowers steal the show.

As we walk along the tundra,
The lack of noise will astound.
There may be wind, or planes, or talk,
But the silence is profound.

Soon, we’ll reach the spot
Where the trail begins to drop
After passing through black timber,
We’ll reach the valley where we’ll stop.

Another river fills that valley,
And we’ll round another bend.
We’ll wade into the stream
And take the long way once again.

Audio Version:

Base Camp area trails
Passing through the Aspens

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

Oasis

Pondering

Islands in the sea of life,
Respites to the strife.
Lean on back against a tree,
Daydream of what might be.

See the forests, touch the rocks,
Feel the dirt and watch a fox.
Drink a raindrop, hug the trees,
And savor every gentle breeze.

Walk the path, stay on the trail,
Don’t let the bumps your life derail.
Should a river block your way
Wade in and cross it, you’ll be okay

When a whirlwind grabs and sends
Your moments into dizzy spins.
Find your footing, breathe in deep,
You can count on nature, your soul to keep.


Audio Version:

On top of Bullseye

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

Inside a Bolivian Mine

Unexpected Footbridge in Mexico

My wife, Lori, and I ended up in the city of Potosi on the last part of our Bolivian vacation. After considering various things to do around the city, we selected the “mine tour” option. The city is over 200 miles south of the capital city of La Paz. At 13,400 feet of elevation, it’s one of the world’s highest cities. And, as we found out, it’s dominated by a big mountain named Cerro Rico, which has been mined regularly for silver since the Spaniards were the rulers.

Continue reading “Inside a Bolivian Mine”

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
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