*

the wind and I walked,
and let the sun sleep in
just a few minutes more,
– just this once –

so that we might hear
our stray-dog thoughts
before the interrupting
layers of birdsong

© Sarah Whiteley

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fresh as new nothing

high above the canyon, the bumblebee wears its band of orange as it slips into the lips of the lupine

I have clamored up the steep creek, braving the slickness of rocks and roots for this spoon of solitude

up here, I am as anonymous to the wind as fierce-clinging heather – alone with ballads of bees and fresh as new nothing

© Sarah Whiteley

I’m slowly adjusting to my return to “civilization” after an adventure in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mostly I am trying to hold onto that feeling of space and freedom for a while longer, but more posts about my experiences are sure to follow in the coming weeks. And for the first time, I journaled my experience with the help of a little weather-proof notebook my brother and his wife brought me on their last visit. Very handy!

preparing for a hike

poacher’s knot,
lark’s head, and bight –

until I find
which ropes to break,

I will tie them
to my own purpose
instead

© Sarah Whiteley

I have been spending some time getting my gear ready for a solo trek into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness later next week. Last night, I spent an hour outside just before dusk, getting my new tie-outs ready for the tarp and finding great satisfaction in tying my knots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s a certain grace in knots – in altering the shape of rope (or in my case, AmSteel) to suit a purpose.

Once hung, my tarp will be shelter and comfort, will allay the winds from the ridge and keep me dry. A bit of fabric, a length of rope, and I can be at peace in the wild for a time. If only everything could be so simple.

the maps are out

hot coffee, and the maps are out –
the rise out of Box Canyon
an uneven line of red

a map may tally an ascent,
mark the twists in a trail,
lend certain assurances

what it cannot show is emergence
from a stone-heavy world
into the mercy of pines –

into the stalwart grace
of a waiting mountain,
where the rushing creeks sing
and the winds hum along

© Sarah Whiteley

early morning hike

I wake well before dawn
so that I might walk
with the mist and the fog,
each of us finding
our own path up the peak

yet loving the damp bark
of the lofty cypress
in precisely the same way –
like light suddenly unbound,
eagerly embracing all
it can and cannot name

those who would say
a mountain does not breathe
have never placed their feet
where feet have not yet been –
have never found the river
that flows into the mountain
and does not come out again

© Sarah Whiteley

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Pre-orders through March 22nd will have an opportunity to win a canvas print of the cover art. Click for details!

at 4,665 feet

the rocks smell of rain,
and somehow too
of growing things that cling
to cracks and grooves

I imagine, when breaking
needles of spruce into cider,
this must be the scent
of wild-some joy

© Sarah Whiteley

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Pre-orders through March 22nd will have an opportunity to win a canvas print of the cover art. Click for details!

a night walk in new snow

on some nights, like this one –
out in the snow near to midnight –
the size of living can be altered

for a short time, I can be small –
a warm-furred mouse trailing punctuation
across the unmarked drifts

© Sarah Whiteley

I took the most enchanting walk through the falling snow late last night. The streets were quiet and not a car moving in sight. Every tree was wrapped in white, and the night felt huge and soft. Sometimes it’s nice to find these reminders that I don’t need to leave the confines of the city to find peace and contentment in nature.

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.