Based on “The Sacramento” by Jeff Knorr: https://nowcomment.com/documents/105218*This is a response poem that incorporates and modifies the last line of Knorr’s work
The mountains stand like a wall: impenetrable, cool, aloof.
Pretending, from a distance, to be flat and angular, one dimensional,
Hoping to be disregarded—an impossible desire—
Unwilling to give up their secrets.
In reality, the peaks are grasping for the invigorating air,
hiding the constant ebb and flow of life on their surfaces:
the sequence of seasons, creatures’ comings and goings, rest and renewal
that were once safely hidden in a cocoon of snow or thick-leaved summer trees.
Now the pine curl in on themselves, surrendering.
Their unnatural orange color is like a warning sign.
The aspen weaken, too, unable to bear the load themselves.
Now smog makes the peaks look stunted.
Yearly fire sears them; the sun burns too hot without the umbrella of trees to protect.
Their inner workings are severed as humanity lays out evidence of its progress
Once only the most respectful could learn their secrets; now they are laid bare to all.
Roads like wires, narrow, but tight, admit humanity while squeezing life from the mountains.
Skiers and bikers rip down their sides, cutting deep, while hikers pockmark their surfaces,
replacing the permanent with their fleeting enjoyment.
Now the jagged peaks are a knife edge of life and death – for themselves and us.
Let us heed the warning! “Let these mountains make us want to do right.”
A specific place in the Rocky Mountains that embodies this poem for me is Herman Gulch, just on the east side of the I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado. This used to be one of my favorite hikes but now the majority of the trees have died. Here is a map:
Tags: Places We Love #nwpplaces