The Flowing Heart Of The Mountain

Maybe there will be a place
there may be a place, there could be a place:
A high ridge
Littered with white rocks
Above a flat valley
free of snow.

Green things growing in the valley below.
A stream flows through the middle, there may be a place,
there might be a place
if you stay on the ridge for long enough
looking down at the valley for about
a thousand years
enough to see the bristlecones grow and some die
and some live, there may be a place
—a place on a high ridge
there may be a place there where you can sit and watch
as the boulders do
for a long time
the water flow out of a spring in the side of a hill.

There: the cow valley, once aspen ground,
now thigh bones bleached white near the stellar’s jay’s spruce.
In the center of valley
there are a few rocks covered with orange lichen
—yellow, blue, green, and red—
the sunsets too, you can see
when sitting at the far end of the valley
where a chipmunk lives above the stream
and sits out on his porch to watch the whole valley, forever
but only for a few years.

Long enough to know where life comes from, living above the stream itself
as it flows perfectly clear and cold
from below his rockside home.

Clear at the source, the water cuts deeply where the cows go too many times
and muddies before the marsh halfway across.
The marsh is drying, and the snow less every year.
And I lay under engelmann spruce,
my head on a tussock.
A place where the stream is half muddied, and still maybe as it was once
clear and drinkable straight from the source.

My eyes drift from sky to land to water.
To hear the burble of this glassy fluid, one has to listen.
A small bee lands not an inch from my eye
and cleans his antennae off patiently
then flies off to save the whole world.

I hear if you lay there long enough
the rocks begin to speak

“though you are very small
you are very important”

They whisper to the stream
and the bee
and the chipmunk
to the wind, the trees
the groves of nettles under fir trees,
and they say this
to me—
The flowing heart of the mountain.