Watermelon Peak


Sandia Peak (Watermelon in Spanish) rises 10,678 feet and dominates the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.Photo by Richard F. Fleck


On a pleasantly warm February day down

Albuquerque way where plum blossoms

scent the air, I look through my window

at Sandia Crest sprinkled with a fresh

morning layer of sugar snow and I know

I must arise and go to the mountain’s edge

where prickly pear cactus and yuccas grow.

As I climb higher toward Sandia’s pinnacles,

patches of snow appear here and there

reminding me winter still lingers above.

Still higher and I kick at ankle-deep snow;

higher, knee-deep, but nonetheless I proceed

toward those alluring rocky spires looming

overhead sending down icy gusts of wind

that give piñon pines a hissing voice, all the

while I break through hip-deep snow and get

tangled in frozen branches scratching my legs.

Piñons give way to taller spruce and fir as

Albuquerque folds into the brown desert.

But at only a thousand feet shy of the summit,

I abandon all hope of reaching the top with

dark shadows cast on windy powder snow.

By sundown, I am back to scattered patches

of ice melted by warm layers of desert air. It is

then that I look back up to where I’ve been

to see the reddened peak all aglow looking

like some giant split-open watermelon.