I got out of Anchorage for nearly three days. David, Daniel, Denis, & I took a trip to McCarthy & Kennecott in the Copper River Basin. Kennecott is an old mining town that was abandoned in 1938. The trip was beautiful, therapeutic, and well-deserved by all of us.
Honestly, I imagined great tension and possible distance on our return, but the four of us play very well off one another and if I can get over my jealousy that the other three live in two adjacent houses far from me, I think we’ll continue to have a strong relationship.
I’m not a nature person… so I say, but I do really enjoy getting out and doing things like this trip. I mainly say these things about not being a nature person to prevent people from inviting me on adventures that I can resent them for going on later. I should see someone about that, but for now I will just admit it and try to deal with it. I seem to be all too willing to sabotage my own happiness. Curious. I think getting a little nature all over me was good.
My pictures will be around soon. Too tired to care tonight.
Hiking At Kennicott
We chose stones carefully, stepping goat-like
across the field of glacier
rocks brought here by powerful ice.
We made our way along the river, through a
density of silt.
I followed a narrow trail, curiosity claiming one, two, then all
three of my companions.
My path lay flat, carved from trees and grasses on the hills,
running along the very center of each towering, but small peak
and back down again.
The path only briefly meandered
through some trees
and then I emerged again, taking my place atop the next hill.
The 3 appeared in the distance at my new height,
far in the distance and now far
Waving, we acknowledged our continued group hike,
now made one person short.
My feet took me forward and I pressed on,
again goating my way
over sloped white rock,
my clear and flattened path disappearing and then
reappearing some ways below me.
Preoccupied with safety, I’d been unaware of beauty
that was rising up and spreading out around me.
I turned my head to see the glacier,
angrily peering from beneath its rocky blanket, spilling stones
and streaming water into a vast pool
that lay idle a moment,
trying to get its bearings before
heading towards the river.
In the distance I saw my friends and spoke to them
with a barely raised voice.
I guarded the glacier discovery, allowing them the chance
to experience and awe at the mighty size of the creature.
Disappearing into a pass that took them out of view,
I continued on,
drawn by some magic the trail had conjured.
Increasing heights made the hills more difficult, exhilarating,
Another rocky slope found my feet less sure,
challenging me with loose rocks.
My friends came to mind,
unseen for a long while.
The path diminished a bit at the line of trees began
to impede my passage.
My name rang gently through the valley once
(that I heard).
I turned, collected a rock and headed back to the group.
My back wet with sweat,
shirt clinging exhaustedly to my skin,
I felt a rush of new freedom,
I sprinted now, over peaks that had seemed so difficult,
my feet never flinching on the now familiar trail.
I dashed up hills and pranced lightly down,
increasingly eager to get back to the company of friends,
I slowed and walked slowly up a hill and saw the orange hat
making its way up to the same point, the hill with the view —
the perfect view of the white faces, lodged and straining.
We clicked our cameras, in awe
and I could now see the other two below, resting on rocks,
lazily taking Nature in,
I hopped down to the bed of boulders, where they had veered
and danced ceremoniously down towards the lodge.
Weary, wet, hot,
my feet were no longer trustworthy and my movements
required more thought.
Back safely at our cabin, we had a tailgate feast of whatever
each of us could find: olives, cookies, whole chickens, tuna salad,
carrots, juice, apples, nuts, dried cranberries, soda,…
Blissfully, the lovers among us retired
to the deck of the great common building
to share a romantic ramen and wine dinner,
Creativity oozed out of anywhere it could and houses built
themselves on imagined sites of beautiful dreams that
seem to be coming true.
Wine gave way to haughty birds and the words once again
took over my hand.
We all seemed to be looking towards the glacier,
a pure moment carrying over and living on.
Alaska is good.
I really like where I was trying to go with this next one. The day after I said it, there was a discussion in the truck about how everyone felt the same way about this. Even though I felt like the sentiment had been justified, I still don’t quite know how to phrase that last line to have maximum impact. Hmm… Oh, and if the title doesn’t stick with this poem, it WILL be the title of a similarly themed poem.
The Musk Ox & the Unicorn In Single Combat
Some people dream up mythical places with colors pulled from curious recesses,
fantastic creatures conjured up, unknown to man.
Some people write of beautiful worlds, misty moored landscapes and jagged
mountain peaks cutting through the sky towards gods just imagined.
Poets pull detail from made-up places;
describe them in wrapped beauty and make awe from the seemingly mundane.
Some people tell tales of lovely people doing spectacular things — heroes, heroines,
trailblazing pioneers making paths towards alien places.
I get to live in Alaska.