Big Cottonwood Canyon
Resurrection must be like this,
suspended on a stony lip that juts
obliquely from a wrinkled quartzite face.
My friend had called it Stewart’s
Ridge and said to watch him on
the crux before he vanished in
a cloud of solemn spidery motions.
Soon his shouts blew thin
within the wind around and
stream somewhere below and
rock all wheres above.
I slowly feed the rope and wait.
When you climb the air holds you.
You learn to lean against the sky, to
let the awkward thought of space
impress you to the wall. Your
fingers search out ways to hide
your weight in any barely smear
of stone. Each move is a request,
every granite flaw a grace.
You sense the tightness in your legs
at first, a change in the tone your feet
use to the rock. Your fingers feel
a certain scrape and weakness.
Then: the final gift
of gravity is weightlessness.
The rope between my hands had
ceased its slide some nervous time ago,
a concentrated age in which he must, I hope,
have readied for my sudden weight.
The wall will want to nudge my chalky
fingers off, and pry my cramped and painful
feet from out its cracks. Death
and stone are much alike.
Soon all I know is rope
and see is rock.
I climb and find I
must hold lightly to this life.
Ken Smith is occasionally a programmer and writer, and nearly always a husband and father. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.
- Editor's Note from November 12, 2015
Issue 35: Fractals, zombie ants, and a dashing evangelist-monk. /
- Why Fractals Are So Beautiful
We’re finding infinitely complex, self-similar shapes all over creation. And we’re just getting started. /
- I Want to Be a Zombie Ant
How a fungus can turn an insect into a new creature bent to its own will. /
- The Handsome, Pun-Loving Missionary Who Teased Popes
Columbanus died 1,400 years ago this month, having re-evangelized Western Europe. /
- Wonder on the Web
Issue 35: Links to amazing stuff.