The Summer of 1959
It seems to come from nowhere, or so
I think, as I gain the alpine tundra high.
Thrashing lightning and rolling thunder
turn the sky into rockets and mortars.
No longer can I enjoy the forget-me-nots
and Parry primroses combed with wind.
Sheets of driving rain mixed with icy sleet
sting my face and hands as I plan my quick
retreat to a lake below where my friends
await me with some food and steaming coffee.
As I descend the cliffs I cannot help but see
miles on end of alpine humps so gray in storm.
I constantly slip and slide on wobbly rocks
above a misty lake — but wait! There are three
lakes, each in a different valley and which
one should I choose? A lightning strike above
my head forces a wrong decision with hours
of labor just to get to a deserted rainy lake
with no friends. My only choice — to follow an
outlet stream tumbling down through bramble
and brush besides slippery moss-lined waterfalls.
My friends must think I’ve lost my life high up
on the goddess Ida’s slopes lashed with lightning.
A patch of bright blue columbines calm my soul
beside a peaceful running river rippled in rain.
I cannot rush my mired descent to a valley
where the Colorado River flows and tourists
stay camped by friendly fires and curling smoke.
Tired, weary and hungry I finally emerge from
the pathless wood and hitchhike back to the
village of my friends twelve hours late for lunch,
just before a search begins for my missing bones.