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Issue #70, Labor day weekend, September 2003, Rawah Wilderness, Colorado. Haiku, photographs and drawings by Jonathan

Labor day!
Everyone is doing something
even with a world in turmoil,
mullahas bombed in Iraq,
security desperate,
sisters struggling with babies
moving entire households,
I contemplate a visit
to the vast landscape
surrounding our civilization.

Paige is busy teaching.
She has no time to decide
so we pull out the map and
imagine what might be good.

Rawah - just how to pronounce?
In any event, the lakes up there
lie unexplored,
blue teardrops on plasticized paper.

The grey clouds press down
upon late August sun-browned grasses,
the drizzle more apparrent
as we near Ft. Collins.
Driving the lee side of Cameron Pass
we pass a biker squinting his eyes,
his mouth open to the rain that pummels him.
The mountains are obscured.
Are we really going up there?
Evenly spaced lodgepole pines in the rain
shroud the near-deserted trailhead.
We pull on our packs, our rain gear.

The storm is lingering.
We chase the edge all day,
walking in spots of sun and calm
while the weather disturbance makes its way
past this arm of the continental divide.
I have a friend who says
the weather is all there really is,
and I know exactly what she means.

By late evening the sky again is ominous,
fungal growth accelerating,
the valley darkening,
as we follow the final curve to the lake.

Horseback riders with beer
joke about the weather.
Just a few more switchbacks,
fortified with gorp.

We set up a rainy tent and
quickly cook dinner
with a lightweight funky
aluminum can stove
Paige brought along.

rain falls at night.
We awake to uniform grey,
raindrops on the plastic window.

coffee is weak
barely off on our morning hike
we pass the skull of a cow,
monstrous teeth, angle-iron mandible
just sitting at the next camp
white against over-used barren ground.

The ridge we climb is bushy,
across scree
painted with the past,
historical geology, veins
and fissures of mineral seeps,
intrusions of quartz,
folds of material
not so readily mixable,
across thickets
and shrubby oak that meet our legs,
to a ridge overlooking
a fine view in spotted sunshine,
the quiet steady sweep of
the weather, all that there is,
a gentle softening feel,
unlike the brash buildup
of late july Sangre De Christo thunderclouds
but the gentle hands of
early fall in the Medicine Bow,
I pause for shifting skies
to show any hint of rain
to reveal weather patterns and
look back at treeline.

up a couloir I discover
bright blue rocks and abandoned miners' timbers.

I am drawn to the peak,
curious to see the eastern side
those pale blue drops on the map.
the light shifts with the clouds
I am too far up to think about
escaping lightning,
so I focus instead on the bright
areas of blue opening up
an arms length away from me.

recurring dream:
of the map, our location, the journey
reappearing in continuous bits
of deja vu.

horizontal clouds
squeezing moisture from august
into september

jiggly bolete
round brown dome under wet stump
almost out of sight

the consistency
of different types of soil
revealed in the rain

glabrous and humid
slimy shroom cap emerges
from wet forest floor

inchworm on my foot,
relic of a wet forest walk
adhering to boot

a bee's ecstasy:
hardly moving on thistle
final resting spot

storm cloud, broken shroom
horseback riders cuddle beer
valley far below

staring at coffee
while fog descends upon lake
sleep lifting from eyes

mouth chock full of grass
squirrel runs past breakfast camp
last day of august

no lightning bolt
emerges from folds of fog
brushing the divide

the high fat content
of this gooey oat goodie
mitigating chill

so many images
from this seamless encounter
with gaia presence

yet so human in design
the lowly cairn

one wet sleeping bag
and a pained look on her face
greet me back at camp

red amanita
nibbled, and then left alone
squirrel now tripping

calling it quits
fisherman dries off waders
fish jumps in the lake

tapestry of gold
bringing color to stillness
reflected from cliffs

morning silhouette
paige watching guy bouldering
on far side of lake

reflecting the mood
of every changing nuance:
lake open to sky

single raspberry
gives mouth the experience
of mountain valley

quiet of mushrooms
quiet of walking the trail
with only bird calls

she has no filter
yet those she claims she might know
like her true approach

shadowy, humidified
mushroom emerges

eating tart hummus
in monotonous stand of trees
jet off in distance

aspen canopy
pale green photosynthesis
leaves reaching for light

yellow butterflies
flitting about pungent sage
like attracting like

north canadian
ruby jewel and all those roads
become seamless blurr

llama on highway
in rickety diesel truck
pacing side to side

the red, white and blue
colors of the wilderness
not patriotic

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen