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.