As the wind, sly-fingered, plucked at the hemlocks they
shivered, gently, shedding fine showers of snow
from their gloved hands. Beneath them, something
cracked like snapped twig or sudden sneeze between branches.
I looked, expecting flash of squirrel or flit of bird
but saw only icy spray, quickly gone.
The day, cold as sea water, hung heavy
over ridge and trail. Clouds draped in damp
blankets, shrugging wide woolly wrinkles over
deep drifts. We wandered, dogs and I, pushing
through white crests and gray curtains. I wanted us
mist-frosted, dreamy and glistening
but these clouds, like smoke, were too dry and wind-whipped
for whimsical cloaks or vigorous tides.
We knew fog and snow only, a tunneled trudge forward
on well-packed trail, and I forgot how the valley yawns
nearby, forgot how the ridge lifts in sturdy arms behind us, forgot
how life would always rise again
and again. But the wind, insistent, lifted the tireless
shoulders of trees. It swept the clever blinds away until
the mountain, irrefutable, stood breathless and still
thinly veiled, an ocean in itself.
I, snapped by sunlight, watched the clouds ebb, a portal
between shadow and light.