By Linda Bierds
Mt. Rainier National Park
We are standing on the access road to Paradise.
Seven miles from the gates. We are standing
on the centerline, the moon on our faces, the mountain
at our backs. Were it less than full, we might see,
in its northwest sector, the Land of Snow
and the Ocean of Storms. Because it is full, we can see,
just over our shoulders, how the Ramparts climb up
toward the glaciers. We might see near the Sea
of Showers, the dark-floored crater of Plato.
How the glaciers, just over our shoulders—
Pyramid, Kautz, Nisqually—shine. How the spreading
bedrock shines. As if we are starting again,
we have placed—there—on the moon’s widening shadow
Kepler, Copernicus, Archimedes, Aristoteles.
And opened a Sea of Fertility. A Sea of Nectar.
As if we imagine a harvest.
No sound it seems, on the slopes, in the firs.
Nothing hoots. Nothing calves. Although
through Nisqually’s steep moraine, rocks
must be shifting, grasses cinching their eternal grip.
Look, in the blackness, how the moon’s rim glows,
like a ring from an ancient astrolabe.
We are standing in the roadway. There is nothing
on our faces but the glow of refracted dust.
At our backs, the mountain is shifting, aligning itself
with the passing hours. First ice. Then stone.
Then the ice-green grasses. We are standing
on the centerline aligning ourselves with the earth.
We are standing on the access road as if we imagine
an eternal grip. Look—they are rotating on, now.
Already a pale crescent spreads
past the Known Sea and the Muir Snowfields—
as if we are starting…—past
the Trail of Shadows, the ice-green grasses,
the seas of nectar, the craters of rest,
the gardens of nothing but passing hours.
I suppose I owed everyone including me a poem, though in all likelihood I'm about to go a week without again. I spent almost all of Monday doing laundry, packing, and putting the linen closet back together, which mostly involved folding, sorting, and deciding how many mismatched towels and sheets to give away. We went out to get cat food and I did my first Pokemon raid in ages, at which a friend caught me a 98% perfect IV Regice, so that was a nice break. But that and this week's art forgery Elementary were really my only breaks in a day of chores, so since I have no new photos, here is my anniversary card from Paul: