Monday, July 19, 2010

week on the trails

No post in a week, Jon mentioned the other night as he visited this site. Indeed, and what a short post it was! It's not as though I haven't been doing anything or haven't been thinking big thoughts or putting those thoughts into words on a page. But a cohesive, well-written post is always my goal. Sometimes things call me away. Last week, those things were mostly outdoors. Sun or clouds. Hike, bike, repeat.

A good week in an Alaska summer is a week where my calendar is filled with notes about all the things I did that weren't chores or commitments. I hope they give me memories which I can arrange into stories for later tellings. Of course, the longer I wait to write about something, the less I remember the smells of the tiny wildflowers in the high country, the chill of the wind through my sweater and the ache in my muscles the next day. How beautiful it all is! Maybe this will suffice:

Last Monday's sunny skies coaxed me out for
my annual pilgrimage to Rabbit Lake.


Where butterflies danced along the warming trail,
rested on aromatic pushki


Puffballs were ready for harvest.
I breathed in their fresh, almost citrus scent,
imagined meals and Jon's delight

that I've joined him in the foraging.

Thursday, we hiked up Wolverine Peak, into the clouds that
sometimes obscured our city below. So near; so far.
And from the peak, below the cloud ceiling,
saw two valleys beyond:
Long Lake and Williwaw Lake.
Were we ravens, we could fly beyond the lakes to wilderness and glaciers.

Mountains, layer upon layer
I can imagine that it is all wild here, high above the city
where the plants have evolved with the wind.

We came upon an invisibleness of ptarmigan;
A hen and seven chicks in their summer plumage.
They scattered and
disappeared
among the rocks and lichen and

sweet-scented alpine flowers
We descended as the clouds rose to meet us
They felt alive, breathing.

Obscuring paths, valleys and streams, the clouds rose
and we followed our route, passing through the layer of cool mist
To a place where color returned.