background image
standing just off the trail,
and looking up intently
into the dark treetops,
quite unaware of me
under my big daypack
approaching through the dusk.
Since she still hasn't moved
I click my walking staff
against a trailside rock
letting her know I'm here
before I come too near
and perhaps startle her.
She gives me the briefest glance
and goes back to her gazing
and soon I am drawing near her.
She is a tall, plump woman,
well into middle age,
dressed in T-shirt and jeans,
looking as if she'd just
stepped outside the house:
no hat, no jacket, no
binoculars, no daypack;
up here alone, it seems,
maintaining this rapt stillness
in the stillness, as the birds stir
high up in the foliage,
darkness a half hour off ,
the canyon chill increasing.
"There's a lot of birds up here,"
she says, an eagerness showing
a little, and a slight shyness,
under the factual manner.
I nod and mention seeing
some signs of bear up above.
She rounds our meeting off ,