for Harry R. Truman
We once drove through the Chinook Pass in the Cascades
where evergreens seem to march up the ridge
like a parade of tourists feasting on the tectonics
and swaying to the symphony of woodwinds
that nature sometimes conducts,
high pitched and frenetic
piccolo boughs waving madly
or a bassoon like beckoning
depending on perspective,
and when we pulled over
to take in the panorama
the sun playing a shadow dance
with the greens and grays, the outcroppings
reminders of the metamorphosis,
I thought of the old codger
who refused to leave his lodge and 16 cats
when Mt. Saint Helena erupted.
Did he wake that morning
no longer worrying about the things
octogenarians sometimes think about?
Did he take his pipe and sit in his rocker
on the front porch knowing
that orchestrating one’s life
is simply a matter of perspective?
Did he breath in the crisp mountain air
minutes before the blast?
What melody had nature played for him
through the cataclysm?