Part 2 of AzRA Guest Tom Pattee’s Poems
A GYPSY’S LULLABY
I sit among grass thin and parched yet,
Somehow thriving in the sand baking in the sun
And littered by our footsteps and by those who
Camped here the night before.
The sun’s shadow climbs up the canyon
As the sky begs for the transition to night.
A plane has the audacity to split the sky,
Then vanishes with the sun.
No clouds tonight to embellish the canyon’s rim.
Soon the stars escape the daylight
To enlighten those who await the inevitable moon,
Full with reflective pride alongside Venus.
The canyon welcomes and embraces their journey.
A summer breeze blows a lullaby into
The heart of this gypsy.
JOY IN THE CANYON
She stood on the precipice with outstretched arms
Wanting to be embraced by the dream-world below.
And so, it would come to pass.
She takes the leap.
Standing before the timeless harmony of colors and hues,
Her spirit ignites.
She floats, no dances, on the water joyfully tumbling,
Bubbling, mimicking the rapids wild and free.
Adding to the canyon’s heartbeat,
She sets the canyon’s wonders echoing
In a resoundingly playful embodiment of mystical pleasure.
Joy, majestic and timeless, finds a home here.
She cartwheels with waterfalls,
Communes with lizards,
Conducts the clouds as they swirl between canyon rims,
Walks side canyons with a gentle, tickling tone.
Her child-like curiosity resonates with the whispering secrets of the past.
Like the wind weaving and swooning under the condor’s feathers,
Joy’s spiritual prancing deepens within her fellow travelers.
At night, she takes on a tranquil, ethereal bliss
As the celestial serenity emerges to accompany her evening’s frolicking.
She is the spirit that invites the inevitable connection with all things Grand,
A testament to all things beautiful and near.
There is a Grand reverence and respect for Joy’s ubiquitous zest.
My journey would not have been complete if…
Joy had not taken that illuminating leap.
HONORING THE CRADLE OF LIFE
No other place on earth represents the sacredness of the earth better than
The cathedral walls of the Grand Canyon.
The beginnings of life are nurtured in these layers
Weaving a tapestry of generations past.
There is a soul to be discovered in these towering walls
Yearning for introspection and inviting we who pass by to
Recognize and honor interconnectedness.
We roam the side canyons seeking evidence in the rocks
Of our ancient heritage and ageless wisdom.
Treading lightly, we step over fossils of coral and algae,
Worm burrows, sea shells, and ancestorial foot prints.
With curiosity, we gaze upon messages in the form of hand prints
And drawings of life hammered delicately into eternal stone.
This pilgrimage of evolution is to be honored as a realm
Where all creatures, including humanity, seek coexistence.
This diverse landscape asks simply
For us to walk reverently on this cradle of life.
“Tell your children that the soil holds the ashes of their grandparents.
That the earth is full of the lives of their ancestors. That the earth is sacred.”
DIAMOND CREEK TAKE-OUT
A sense of finality begins to take hold
As Diamond Peak looms forebodingly ahead.
Time catches up or maybe has been waiting all along.
Mile 217 rapid soaks us for the last time,
A suggestion of taking a reflective moment for deep contemplation,
And suddenly the shoreline is filled with
A sense of return to what was 14 days ago.
It almost seems that the baggage left behind at Lee’s Ferry
Has been shuttled to this take-out.
For the guides, work is done…
Let’s get packed up, say farewell, and get home.
They know they will return to introduce the experiences of
The canyon and the river to a new group.
For some in our group…
They pick up their baggage and bust out their cell phones.
For some in our group…
There is an eagerness to help the guides clean and pack up
Before they, too, pick up their baggage and bust out their cell phones.
For me, there is a profound sense of wanting to linger.
I’ve come from a canyon of memories, peace, and a sensitivity about life,
Introspection, spirituality, transformation.
The canyon doesn’t end at Diamond Creek.
It, along with the grand river, continues…
Begs to be travelled promising further memories and growth.
I’m the last one on the bus with
Little desire to return to the rim world.
What was once a river to be admired becomes
A man-made road of dust with littered soda and beer cans alongside.
I experience pangs of separation leaving this place of profound beauty.
It’s a bittersweet sense of wanting to cling to the insights gained
Deep within the monumental walls of the canyon
While the reality of life above looms wide in the world ahead.