Panther Junction

by Steven Craig

There is a mountain that may be seen,
when one looks closely,
and knows the spot
where the peak breaks the clouds.

Dawn is the time.
Far to the still dark horizon,
one first sees a single white cloud
where no cloud should ever be.
It drifts slowly,
disappears slowly,
always there briefly in the morning,

and then it is gone.

the mountain is seen
to rise from the desert,
all about it
are the threadbare bushes that thrive there,
and die there.
But that mountain,
that solitary mountain beckons.

As the dawn crests one horizon,
the far mountain for a moment
flashes bronze and gray,
and is hidden then from the eyes
of all but those that value it.

The desert ponies
have wildly roamed its roots
for centuries,
and know its flanks
of shelter
and cool shadows
in the heat of the day.
From the river,
they return each morning
to shelter beneath its crest,
and watch quietly
the clouds of the afternoon
obscure its fine sharp lines.

The forest to its north
always lives in the mountains gratuity,
green the woods prosper
and the rocks in time
are turned to soils of nurture.
the deer
and the mountain lion roam still,
seeking for each other
the passing needs of the day.

In the afternoon,
harsh sun rays
beat the south skin of the mountain,
and there,
life is hard
for what ever calls it home.
Varmints and hares
travel there,
hissing and racing
from rock to rock,
broken log to broken log.
Even the air seems to flee
the heat of late afternoon,
in great currents,
with a whoosh,
it surges to the sky
and breaks into floating pillows
as white as any cotton lace.

The evening on the ridge top
sees a path with footprints,
the feet from which have already departed.
In the west,
the new moon crescent
tells of the coming of the night,
and the air ceases its caress
of the upland rocks,
and for that moment,
briefly holds its place
where once it rose in flood.

Shadows lengthen
across the lands,
from every twig
and ridgeline crest,
fingers reaching to pull the day
back into the night,
and hide the mountain again
from the eyes that know it only as joy.

And in the final darkness,
as the stars comfort the mountain summit,
owls watch the night
as none could ever see the day.
In those final quiet minutes,
as the sands cool
and the trees drop into rest,
the mountain has known
but a second,
a single tick of its time
that it holds so dear.
For never again,
in this or any other time,
will it know that day
as it was,
in all the ways
that made the mountain ring.


Author's Note: It is but one moment, one one tick of a clock that tells a longer story, one of the Mountain and the Little Cloud, of the love they shared, a story that never ends, but goes on forever, chapter and verse, rhythm and rhyme, touch and heartbeat.

Posted on 06/24/2006
Copyright © 2024 Steven Craig

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