For many years my wife and I would hike the mountains—the Rockies when we lived in Alberta, and the North Shore and Coast Mountains when we lived in BC—and in the case of the North Shore made it to the summit of many of them. The hiking days are over, to my regret if not to my dismay, but having been able to walk the heights of so many places in this land has been an experience I would not have missed. And to this I would add our many times in the state of Maine and, to lesser extent, Colorado.
To follow the icy rivulets of retreating glaciers,
No more now and then to stand at the blue edge
Of the turquoise lake as the snows begin to fall.
— from “The Windward Slopes,” 5.2
… that imponderable joy
Immeasurable in the unknowable place
We have found ourselves to come upon,
And that so fills the alpine passes
That even the wind winds around as it blows,
The greatening sky arcing above the golden world.
— from “Unconditional,” 5.10
More of this is reflected in Caravaggio’s Dagger, which can be found here.
“Unconditional” was written in 2004, and I think it was before I became acquainted with Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams. But I have always found a resemblance of feeling between the first dream of that film and one of the alpine meadows in the mountains near Jasper in Alberta that my wife and I came to some time around 1985, and were taken with so much, that we hiked again to it the subsequent day. There are no small things on this earth.