"A Day in the Southern Rockies" by Little Raven

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At Dawn,
I watched the sun rise over Ouray.
A chalice opened
between the mountains.
The shy sun,
reluctant to rise,
peeked through the void
as it blinked the sleep from its eyes.
Stray rays of light
kissed the valley
before they set the sky on fire
in hues of magenta and orange.
The mountain snows fell down to worship,
purple in their shame.


In the Mid-morning,
I drove through a blizzard on Monarch Pass.
The sky,
dark like India ink,
spat angry wet snowflakes at my car
with bitter breath.
The color of the world
became as heavy metal-
mercury, iron, lead-
they turned evergreen black
and soft snow silver.
I ceased being real.
The mountains towered over me
in strange, quiet peace.


At Noon,
I played in the forests of Poncha Springs.
The Angel of Shavano
watched, pleased;
she spread her wings
over the land
and fed the river her life-giving tears.
Wild puffs of cotton
floated through the glades
upon pine-scented breezes
and upon the music of the bubbling Arkansas
that sang to me
while I danced in the meadow.
The mountains cradled me in their arms.


In the Afternoon,
I slipped off Dragon's Point
and fell into the Black Canyon.
It was black as death,
even in the sunlight.
Jagged rocks and crags
like cathedrals on high
stood like gates to the bottom.
A thorny bush caught me fast,
and held me in its frail branches
before the canyon claimed me
for the silent Gunnison.
A lone eagle circled overhead.
The mountains watched,


In the Evening,
I climbed the Great Sand Dunes.
The baked sand,
heavy and hot from the midday sun,
pulled me down like concrete shoes.
Far below the Medano Creek
washed through
like tides at shore,
carrying the salty smell of surf
up the Sangre de Cristos.
At the top,
the sky was pink
like I imagined the Sahara.
The mountains loomed behind,
rising up forever.


At Nightfall,
I stared at the sun setting over Pueblo.
The mountains turned black
as they pulled
the last breaths of daylight to them
with greed.
Shadows cast by the walking sticks and sage brush
grew long and cold.
Stars to the east
winked at the mountains
as the sun ran away.
The prairie burned orange
like civilization had fallen.
The mountains stood strong.

The world began and ended here.

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