Growing dense in this deep valley whence we will depart, a sweeping ocean of tall fragrant sage breaks erratically along the rolling edge of the rising slope. Skittish lizards, alarmed as we move about, scurry among the plants’ gnarled roots, skidding as they seek traction on the hardpan’s sandy veneer. At a distance, in the midst of this dusty green sea, perched on a derelict post, a lonesome quail sounds a sharp staccato call. We sense the ambient quiet and banter in soft, low tones.
—Excerpt from “Trailhead to Nirvana”
Enchantment engulfed the young fisherboy as he stalked the stream’s rocky edge high amid the awesome beauty of gleaming escarpments and crystalline cobalt sky.
Enthralled by the song of swirling eddies and ripples that sparkled and danced, he beheld the water’s swift reaches and the magical chance of its dark and quiet pools. The icy current coursed at the base of great slabs of shining granite as it spilled from a high, distant lake and wound through stunted flora in the brisk rare mountain air, its path defined eons ago, graved in the risen bed of an ancient sea.
Months before, this lofty, pristine land was sleeping beneath a thick blanket of glistening snow. Now the mild weather melt was almost complete, the stored water rushing down the mountain’s western slope to a vast valley’s sprawling landscape far below.
I was that enraptured lad of yesterday, years before cold cascading water, flowing unbounded on the valley’s floor was guided to reclamation and transportation by the progressive hands of man.
—Prologue to “Ghost Lake”
Flagon full upon my birth
Rests empty as I die,
Twas wine of life I shared with you
Before we wept goodbye.
Flagon full at early dawn
By dusk rests worn and bare,
Twas wine of life, through joy and pain,
Our love was blessed to share
—”Empty Flagon” by Dex Ragatz