Adirondack Sketches: Sunday, Sept 14, 2003
Alone, Moose Mountain
The man climbs foolishly alone
into clouds. Breaking spider webs,
he's first to follow this abandoned path
in a long while. A final, steep scramble
up rocks and he's atop
Clouds lift. Brilliant view, shared:
Perched on a near spar, an alert falcon.
Tired, descending a different
faint trail, he hasn't seen
another human all day.
Crossing a creek, he hops to
a slick rock and falls so fast
there is no time to raise his arms.
His jaw slams against a boulder.
Is the bone fractured?
He's in the cold creek,
getting soaked, seeing stars,
mad as hell. He was always good at bearing
pain but this is amazing.
He gets up swearing,
screaming at nobody, the gods,
everything. Where's the hat?
Shit! He stumbles down the creek searching
and slips again. Fuck!
He's too tired, too wet,
too banged up and crazy.
Farewell, beloved Tilley hat.
he continues along a trail so little used
the duff bounces under his boots.
Moss, fungus, throb.
Birch, pine, stab.
Squirrel, jay, pang.
Two weeks later — two weeks in which it was impossible
to swing a hammer — a doctor purses her lips and says,
"You're crazy, hiking solo where nobody would find you.
You almost broke your jaw.
And didn't it occur to you," she asks
shaking her head, "you dislocated your shoulder?"
She pops it into place.
Above Moose Mountain
a falcon soars.
Note: Yeah, I confess, I was that man.