White Birds, Blue Sky

White Birds, Blue Sky

Laying alone, naked in hot springs,
staring lazily at the sky,
a flock of silver white birds flies by.
Tracing a shifting V through the sky,
uncertain behind whom to fly;
unaware of the handful left behind,
themselves followed by more out of mind.
As many flocks as birds in the first,
the groups of silver follow in bursts.
The silver retreats to silent blue,
till one lonely bird at last pushes through.
Feeling alone and sorry for myself,
I sympathize with his desperate self.
Until another flock later flies by,
tracing a shifting V through the sky,
uncertain behind whom to fly;
unaware of the handful left behind,
themselves followed by more out of mind.


The Devil’s Dance Floor

The Devil’s Dance Floor

“How did you get there?”  – the ranger asked.

I walked up the hill and saw another,
Still yet somewhat taller.
I walked up the next and saw one more,
Figured there’d be views galore.

Cannot say the hiking was technical,
Though uphills were quite delectable.

“Well then, you should lead a group today” – the ranger felt the need to say.

No one else wanted to go, but after my first time there I already wanted to return – immediately with camera and phone. With views like those I saw, I couldn’t not get a shot, and given the vantage, I figured there’d be cell coverage.

In Yosemite, the hike to Devil’s Dance Floor from Tamarack Flat is a 30-minute trail-less adventure, mostly crossing forest littered with fallen trees and walking up steep slopes of high-friction granite, typical to the Tuolomne Meadows area.

While staying in the campsite after my climbing friends departed from our Yosemite climbing adventure, I got there wandering randomly uphill in search of a view, but what I found was so amazing that I knew immediately I needed to take photos here. So I jogged back to camp and prepared for a second trip: camera, phone, cliff bar and puffy.

By the time I walked back, it was pitch dark. Moving silently over a foot-ball field of granite in the dark vastness of Yosemite was intimidating. Hiking at night often is, especially within bear habitat.

I repeated my excursion the next day, in need of reception and better photos with a tripod. In the absence of a trail, I never walked the same path twice. No matter how you walk around it, the Devil’s Dance Floor is at the top of a dome that requires some seriously steep walking to get on top of it.

On my way back from this last trip to such a trippy place, I found myself once again worried to hike off trail alone in the dark. I kept hearing echoes of my sounds bouncing off the granite walls I passed by. Eventually though I knew that the last sound had not come from me. I turned suddenly and about 20 yards to my left I saw the distinct two dots of light only a nocturnal animal’s eyes can return. Then I saw more pairs of eyes, all staring at the loud, bright human who had stepped out bounds without company.

“Stay there!” I shouted in fear, picking up a staff of wood.

I figure they were simply dear, perhaps coyotes, as there are no serious pack predators in California.

I am definitely keeping this one high on my list of secret gems.