Sunday, June 17, 2007

San Juan River Magic

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Shall We Gather at the River?

for the 2007 Wild Rivers Dory Expedition members

I am not the first
to have this strong sense
that canyons are not for people;
they’re for rivers. And rivers
are here for rocks, to receive
from limestone walls great corrugated slabs
and make of them these billion cobbles.

I am not the first:
Other passing Homo sapiens sapiens
who came long before me, long before
any of you, knew canyons
are not for us. They’re for lizards,
mule deer, desert mountain sheep,
cliff swallows, green-violet swallows,
martins and bats, always the bats.
Creatures of the evening primrose,
creatures of the cloudless morning-blue
vault of heaven we are not.

And I am not the first
to take home sand in my shoes,
pebbles in my pockets,
mementos of the San Juan Goosenecks,
testaments to Time’s endeavors
as I too pass through with you this hour,
floating this river’s ancient meander
beneath her crumbling canyon towers.

with a line from Ann Zwinger