Thursday, January 13, 2005

Valley Sage: A Picture in 4 Parts

I. Autumn—Snow on Sage
The season’s first snow fell overnight.
As the sun rises between broken clouds,
it lays heavy on the sage
giving the valley an appearance of a cotton field
ready for the harvest.
By late morning, the snow’s gone
And the valley again appears as a sea of light green sage
stretching between the now golden aspens
that line the benches next to the mountains.
The snow, a foretaste of the change in season,
reveals a cosmic battle between light and dark,
summer and winter, life and death.

II. Winter: Sheep and Solitude
Low clouds hang between the mountains
obscuring the sun, a mere diffused spot in the firmament.
Underneath, a white blanket covers the valley
protruded by sage and sheep,
which blend into the bland landscape
as they nibble on the bitter brush.
Howling winds between the mountains
draw the sheep close together.
The herder as another stick of dry sage to the fire
which, as light fades in the west,
sends sparks upward
as if a prayer to the gods.

III. Spring: New Life in the Valley
Evening surrenders to darkness
revealing mighty Orion, his sword drawn,
who now hangs low in the western sky.
Underneath the expanse of the heavens chill settles in
and a lone wolf shatters the silence.
Daily, the snow retreats further up the mountains
followed closely behind by the sheep
who seek fresh grass, a welcome respite from the bitter herb.
On the benches, amongst budding Aspen, they birth lambs.
And in the meadows, amongst the sage, paintbrush and lupine appear
as ducks, high overhead, follow an internal compass north.

VI. Summer: Fragrant Sage and Alpine Glow
Rising, like a nuclear dawn, the sun climbs higher
baking the parched soil as heat simmers from the valley floor.
The hearty sage, now with pale greenish gray shoots
hide rattlesnakes and a few rodents,
longing for relief from the sun and cover from the hawk’s piercing eyes.
As the sun crest overhead
puffs of clouds build over the western mountains
promising evening relief, a quick shower.
Soon, the air freshened and fragrant with sage.
the clouds break as the sun sets
allowing low rays to protrude from behind the horizon
casting a spell of pink over the valley.

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