ContentsPutah and Cache: Cold Canyon

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Ode to Cold Canyon

Norm Milstein

From Two Dog Trail to Maple Hollow
And up the frothing veins
Of your singing sister arroyos
I have wandered,
A pilgrim among the pepperwood trees,
A rover among revelations of redbud,
Seeking you and myself.
You spoke your silken mysteries:
A tree frog on a coppery maple leaf,
Shimmering grey pines against wispdrifty clouds,
Buckeye boxers who punch the mud with detachable fists,
My jolly friend, the toyon, redberry bright,
And Wisecrack Rock who leered at hikers
Until a crazy winter tore his smile to bits.
You taught me autumn's orange sorcery,
Spring's sunflower splendor,
Summer's savage thirst,
And winter's muddy joy.
From you I learned the sound of a single falling leaf,
And learned I would be haunted by this vast sound
As long as I exist.
You gave me magic twirling maple leaves,
Each a graceful dancer
And a stone rabbit on the Mammoth's back,
Fear in the growl of the mountain lion
And the rattlesnake's tail beside my foot,
And love as a breeze through a cottonwood
Where poppies flutter on the slope by the ford.
From you I learned that rocks are fun,
That they sculpt my thoughts
As time has sculpted them,
That they are made for happy feet
To jump from,
That creekbeds are ancestral memory
And walking up one is sweet
Spontaneous movement.

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