Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Elysium Red

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Virgin snow collapses under a heavy foot
Like sand washed away from a steep embankment
By waves impatient of passing time.
Footprints dug deep below the surface
Only to be covered by the next snowfall;
Man lacks permanence in a place such as this.

Translucent diamonds fall from the soft blue sky
Sharp and glinting in sunlight
That offers no warmth or respite from biting winds.
Tree limbs grow heavy with new white robes
Bowing before the might of Winter
With sideways eyes on far away Spring.

He pulls his feet from the earth
Only to plunge them instantly back into the deep;
An endless repetition of slow but sure
Forward progress that breaks the line
Between man’s land and Nature’s untouched garden.
The trail he treads marks a boundary line
Many have approached, but few have overcome.

A chill runs down his spine leaving his hair
Standing at attention without reason;
Caught between Winter’s grip and something
More primal that calls to the heart
Dragging the modern into the primitive mind of fear.
How small we become when we realize
The world is not ours to inhabit –at least not ours alone.

The twig snaps like a leg caught in a hunter’s trap,
He halts and listens with attentive ears.
The sound of Winter’s silence echoes loudly
Even a breath would disturb the crisp air
Cracking it like thin ice with the slightest exhale –
Dead silence reigns here, disrupted
Only by the sound of softly falling snow.

He turns again to continue down the path he chose
Only to again feel the haunting of the unknown
Creeping up behind him, wearing the silence like a cloak
Shrouded in mystifying white and revealed only by instinct
Felt acutely by the hunted when they have been marked as prey.
He knows he is followed by the ghost of something
But cannot name the adversary walking in his shadow.

A flash of red jumps out of the colorless scenery
Existing only on the periphery of sight
As the blurry edged undefined and unrelenting embodiment
Of all that leaves man powerless and afraid.
A phantom dancing just beyond what the eye can see
But the mind remembers as a timeless enemy.

As the man turns once more to seek out the sound stalking him
He is faced with the nothingness of a barren landscape
And his own footprints marring the pristine face of the wilderness;
Except now the first evidence of pursuit is present:
Laid atop his tracks stood the careful footprints of another,
But no sign of the creature that left them behind.

Whirling around to face forward once more
Hoping to escape the encroaching presence
Only to be confronted with the intense yellow eyes of his pursuer.
Standing in the path before him, a red tailed fox –
Royal coat, piercing eyes, black tipped ears keenly listening
Blocked the man’s path with the towering presence
Of a primal Queen who’s dominion has been challenged.

Frozen in place by the sudden appearance of this image of majesty,
Man stands facing the wild
Not knowing whether to continue his journey or turn away.
The fox tilts its head from side to side with curiosity,
Listening to the sound of one who once belong here
But was lost to another world long ago.
Not knowing whether he be friend or foe
She takes a cautious step forward.

She walks atop the snow, gliding gracefully forward
Her movements sound like the swaying of the trees.
The man slowly reaches out his ungloved hand toward the red spirit
She hesitates, paw hanging midair, head tilting to listen
Hearing his heart as it beats thunderously in his chest.
So close, the man stretches farther locked in her lightning eyes
When just as suddenly as she appeared, into the periphery she vanishes.

Left with hand outstretched, slowly filling with snowflakes
Gently kissing his open palm regretfully
The man is left haunted by the red ghost that almost felt real
If only he could have touched it and held it close
For a moment longer than Eternity.
Instead, the silence of winter surrounds him once more
And the Elysium he glimpsed returns to the realm of myth.


Day Nine: Cincinnati

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

We left early in the morning from our beautiful riverside hotel room with whispered goodbyes by their door and headed into the Smokey Mountains before the sky was even fully lit. The park was beautiful, a wooded, secluded forest that had the mystique that only pristine wilderness has. A certain quiet that hangs peacefully over the entire park creating a nearly unearthly sense of calm. We drove through the winding mountain roads that were hidden under a canopy of trees. It was beautiful everywhere you looked and it was a huge breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively, to be back in nature enjoying the simple things rather than fancy shops or restaurants.

We drove all the way into the middle of the park up to its highest point, which is right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee called Clingman’s Dome. In the description it said it was a short mile hike that was supposedly steep that leads up to an observation tower that over looks the misty ble mountains of the area. When we got there we began our trek and for the first time the entire trip it was cold. Not just cold but FREEZING. I was so cold and didn’t even know where I had put my jacket because it had barely gone below triple digits every single day of our trip and suddenly it was so windy and cold on the top of these mountains. So naturally I thought I would run around to warm up a bit. Little did I know that the steep climb was actually a really steep climb and my little warm up left me really tired for going up that huge hill. We walked on the path that goes along on of the hills overlooking the mountain range and by the time we reached the top we were both panting and out of breath from the climb and the elevation which was over 6000 feet. The observation deck was a huge spiral walkway that stopped at a look out and the view was amazing. The mountains were cast in a soft blueish light and hidden among the fog which gives this national park its smokey quality. It was great to stand on top of the world looking around and seeing nothing but beauty in every direction.

After our hike we headed out of the park taking our time on the drive through the remainders of the mountains on the North Carolina side. We drove on the Blue Ridge PArkway which was likewise beautiful and quite fun to drive around North Carolina a bit. It was interesting because I don’t think we ever really intended to go to the east coast but we were technically in a state that is on the east coast so I guess it sort of counts. So technically we drove all the way across the country, nearly coast to coast. But then we had to veer back to our original direction and headed northward.

We made a pit stop at the Cumberland Gap National Park which stands on the corner of three states, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This beautiful area surrounded by rolling mountains, rivers, lake networks, and just all things green and beautiful was a nice little pit stop along the way. It is really our last stop until Cincinnati tonight where we will be staying with a friend of my mother’s who was gracious enough to accomadate us, road mess and all.

Cincinnati was a beautiful city to behold, the river was striking and despite the traffic we got stuck in it was very enjoyable. We were even treated to a wonderful Montgomery dinner of pulled chicken BBQ along with excellent cherries, coleslaw and potatoe salad. We even sat on the balcony that was so nice and warm.

It was a great stop and I am so happy we were welcomed so warmly and I yet again wish we could stay longer but tomorrow we are making the next biggest leap: tomorrow we will be in Michigan.

Yes, we are just a few short days away from our final destination. It seems we may finish ahead of schedule and come in about a day earlier but we will see. Maybe we will make another pit stop somewhere if we wind up having copious amounts of time on our hands but right now we are very focused on the prize, our home in Bootjack (Lake Linden) Michigan.


Yellowstone: Sound Of Silence

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Silence is not something we today hear a lot of in our lives. How many times can you just stop everything you are doing and listen. And when you listen, the only answer is silence. In Yellowstone this is a luxury I indulged in quite often. You could be walking around and just stop in the middle of nowhere. All there would be is silence.

I would hold my breath and look around, all you could hear was the sound of falling snow and the world breathing around you. It is something very special to experience. I never really was aware of just how noisy and bustling life was until I escaped to the wilderness for that week. It was actually really hard to come back to Santa Cruz, especially school because there was so much noise that it was almost suffocating.

I miss the silent moments, where it was just me and the living wilderness talking in utter silence. Many people ask if silence can speak and I can answer this for you; yes, it most definitely can. But what is it saying is the real question. When the world falls silent, what will you hear the wind whisper in your ear? Or will you even remember how to listen at that point.

It is important to remember the voice that nature holds, and to never forget how to listen to it. When it speaks, listen because it will tell you the secrets of the world. And that is not something you want to miss, believe me.

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