welcome to the haikutimes

Issue #78. December 19-21, 2003 Jonathan Machen and David Teitler explore colorado's high country near the Tenth Mountain Hut in this winter solstice adventure

thin afternoon light
rolls under a blanket of
local smog and then
fizzles out

i sleep and wake
before the sun ever comes up
the liberal political voices
of community-owned radio
filling my car as i
wind my way out of boulder

a few lone headlights
under front range
crescent moon
speeding out of town

as i reach the outskirts of town
the political causes get more desperate,
announcers vituperative,
casting an icy gloss to an already
chilly morning,
until radio signals blend and
i can no longer distinguish
political rant from
top forty sales pitch.

free speech radio
political turbulence
beamed from washington

losing reception
free speech radio mutates
into top forty

highway discussion:
old roommates with new cell phones
en route to trailheaad

paige in kitchen
me on highway
confirmed by cell

while talking on cell phone
i nearly miss the exit
twenty-mile mistake

cruising behind well-lit
intercontinental truckers

yellow schoolbus
picking up leadville children
under orange sunrise

sister's hand-knit hat
protects against subzero
at crane park trailhead

ice on willows
while i wait for dave
a green van stops nearby
hyper dogs spill out
breaking crystalline silence

dave realizes why
his pack is so light
because he forgot his sleeping bag

thoughts of a warm hut
fire glowing, brandy flowing
sleeping bag at home

calmly announcing
with air of trepidation
his bag is at home

the kind of word i would use
to describe this place

unlikely conversation on the trail
about suicide
and a person whom we both knew
who hung himself in a house
in a pine forest
under longs peak.

hard to imagine, in these pines
close to the sun,
far away from automobiles.

camp robbers
tilt curious heads
towards our conversation,
listening about the guy who decided
to give up trying
to make it any better
after so many years,

deciding it was time
to end it all,
with his bottle of red wine,
rope, and resolve.

i am more of the type
to stay alive if i can,
to experience peaks like this,
clear, clean mountain air,
light reflected over great distances,
fire crackling in a wood stove,
three burritios after skiing hard,
solitude in a crowded hut.

homestake peak
step by step
skis heavy
with skins attached
snow barely covering brambles

pausing for haiku
on a steep and snowy slope
middle of winter

hard pack
and then a soft spot
skiing between each
requires concentration
i take a photo
sip some water
dave plods on ahead
another season of steady climbing
the angle is steep
up on the peak i know
we will see the holy cross
another group of mountains
i have known in the summer

the more i live
in colorado,
the more familiar i get
with new and similar places
seen from different angles.

a deep kinship,
a lover's touch,
a gentle attention to the land,
the living skin of the earth,
weather that brings moisture,
rocks that fade to soil,
friends that father children,
still seeking powder.

the edge of homestake peak
descends into a steep
rocky couloir.

right above we make
at least ten turns
before going too far

using new digital
movie camera
to record hot action,
40 and 39-year-olds
play on a peak.

one lone jet engine
and the squeaking of my boot
all that i can hear

a hundred hard falls
and then you're ready to go
so says the great stag

like a halfway house
for itinnerant skiers
the hut welcomes all

pooh might've said this
were it not for the night
there wouldn't be day.....dave

haiku, then photo
good excuse for a breather
while climbing tall peak

far removed from town
a normal outhouse moment
studying the stars

snow plow guy from vail
with goatee and robust face
prodding us to drink

blue, green or red wax?
a single season might see
the use of all three

at winter solstice
shadows longer at mid-day
evening falls quickly

wind fades to blue sky
warming temperature sinks snow
should we ski gully?

a blast of nature
a healthy dose of outside
brings me back to now

low motivation
citing a need to chill out
dave heads for the hut

snow consistency
somewhat like maple sugar
crusty, with soft base

grey stormcloud, strong wind
mountains withstand all of that
never a complaint

kid lighting candles
two steps from adolescence
cabin full of youth

dave's potent garlic
home-grown, twice as powerful
as that store-bought stuff

walking frozen lake
above hibernating fish
frozen white saucer

thoughts flowing inside
by the soft glow of the fire
winds blowing outside .......dave

closer to the source
galaxies more evident
starlight crystal cold

all things considered
the beauty of a ski turn
tops that of snowplows

meadow ransaked
by furious snowmobiles
hungry for powder

excited young girls
innocently exchanging
phone numbers with us

young girl will forget
ever making phone request
but i doubt i will

see you at the car
says dave but when i get there
dave cannot be found

taking the wrong turn
the great stag adds five more miles
to his final ski out

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen