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

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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.

how could I be lonely?

alone, how could I be lonely?
in January, the mountain sleeps
but also will wake to shake
loose its winter mantle

it is easier out here
to cease to believe in edges,
to deny the demarcations
that offer others comfort

it is easier to acknowledge
strength in this stillness,
and the abundance found
in the affirmation of alone

alone, how could I be lonely?
I walk, I walk, I walk through
messages dropped in the snow
by the watchful, wintry trees

© Sarah Whiteley

hiking near the Pacific Crest Trail

thirty-two water crossings
and just shy of ten miles

later, I might discover
a jealousy of this stone

but for now I am here and
its perspective is mine –

yes, it is possible to be
both cold and cradled

for exhilaration to rise
from old bones and leaf mold

I am more I, more in
while I am without

it is life that kisses me
through creek-wet feet

© Sarah Whiteley