Snowy Passage, North / South crossing over Horton Pass, Eagle Cap Wilderness

October is the month that the Wallowas change from
the outward-bound energy of bright major keys and
shining granites of every description, to the darker
keys of minor and moody, unpredictable skies.

One can have nine days of spectacularly clear skies.
And then get slammed by a sudden cold front.

One can have a couple feet of snow. And then watch warm
chinook winds melt it all in a day.

For me, it's the time when the poet tunes his or her lyre
of peace to the phrygian of minor, with the half-step
of the sadness of sadness so close, so proud, so full
of resistance, but always ultimately giving itself
back to the fundamental, the ground, the Earth.

It is a time of moons as big as hope itself, and
springs that run so cold and clear they resemble
flowing icy quartz crystals.

And yet, how strange, how strange, I say to myself over
and over again. There is no one there. There is no one


—for David Landrum

Miraculous. Mischievous. Miserable.

Epithets of a species placed
in the order of your choice.

Mischievous. Miraculous. Miserable.

Born naked into a web of dependencies
in a harsh, brutal, indifferent world.

Miserable. Mischievous. Miraculous.

Instrument of the mind, a compassionate
intelligence of infinite subtlety that mirrors
both itself and the whole.

Miraculous. Miserable. Mischievous.

Sole life-form that till the end of time
must walk the sharp knife-edge of its
own self-destruction.

Miserable. Mischievous. Miraculous.

The choice of epithets is our own.

Broken Bridge Camp,
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, X.29.2008

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South/North Sister—
first light
Black Butte
Ponderosa Pines— after burn Manzanita

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2008
(created: X.11.2008)