At Hellgate Canyon

Stop. Breathe. Again. Good.
Wind whistles in endless pine trees
as your neck cranes higher to look.
-do you see it yet?-
The bright blue sky– paint from a God-hand
streaks through the gaping canyons of yourself.
Places unexplored.

Sit on the black-orange-mold-moss that scares you.
Let yourself reflect on decay, on the parts of yourself dead and dying.
Smell the lambs ear of sage offered to you,
smell the tobacco you offered underneath that,
smell the salt of your own skin underneath that.
Places unexplored.

Sit among the sound of rushing waters– the call of your own blood
bubbling underneath.
Now is the time to ask, to listen to its burbled question,
What do you want? What do you want? What do you want?
Have you stopped to actually listen to the reply?
Have you turned the corner, seen the arrow of your own heart
and the sacred sites it points to?

When you are wobbling on the silk-water of shining rocks,
will you take the steadiness of hands offered?
Embrace the chill?
Both?

Stop. Breathe. Again. Good
Smell the braid of burning sweet grass, a protection.
Love the untamed red of the unknown mountain cherry and
see the ochre faded rust on stone, the handprint swiped like blood.
Smile at the violence used to create
the unexplored gaping canyons of yourself.
Look up at the sky and the wind,
feel your neck crane.
Do you see it yet?
Do you see?

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Many thanks to Melissa Kwasny for leading us here and through the exercise that led to this poem. Needless to say, this experience has already been transformative.

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