Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.
I pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.
[What an extraordinary poem--by one of America's greatest living poets! Gary Snyder captures it exactly right. This poem passes the envy test where you say, "I wish I had written that one!" The photo was taken by me on July 14th, 2017, and shows Carolan and Linda crossing the cold, cold Morrison Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana. We were on our 14-mile trek from the Morrison Creek Trailhead to the Schafer Meadows Forest Service Station--a very difficult hike for Linda and me (and maybe a routine one for Carolan, who is in superb shape). The water of Morrison Creek is fast-flowing and perfectly clear. It contains meltwater from snowpacks melting atop the high mountains in the Great Bear Wilderness section of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. I'm guessing the water temperature was in the low 40s. It was painful (my feet and legs ached from the cold), exhilarating, and unforgettable.