The Mountain

The Mountain

                           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

more sustained

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?

What are you looking for?