When my water bottle rolled off
the slab and into the lake, I hesitated
to snatch it out,
and in that moment the breeze took it
silently away from shore,
sailing over the clear green depths.
I thought of returning to my pack
for a trekking pole, but the bottle
was well out of reach. I thought of heaving
a large rock just beyond it
to splash the bottle back to shore,
but I was no Ajax—
the bottle was beyond my range.
So I settled for watching it bob and curtsy
further and further from where I stood
and toward the cliffs, a headwall
that met the lake like a granite curtain,
naturally white but water-streaked with velvet lichen.
The precipice was ribboned with a quiet fall
that dropped from the remnant glacier above
and disappeared with a noiseless splash
as if content to be consumed
by a dark embrace of crystal calm.
And as I watched my fading bottle glint
to the center and beyond, bound for the foot
of those sheer cliffs where there would be
no recollection, I thought of you,
who one day clattered into a cult
before we were well aware,
and even now are drifting toward
the other, unapproachable side.
—Sequoia National Park
Featured Image by: Mark Venner. See more of Mark’ work at Mark Venner Photography.