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Thursday, April 08, 2010

I Cup My Hands


I cup my hands to catch the clear stream water.

It is frigid on the tongue.

I’m a biologist (of sorts). I know full well that one should never drink water that has not been processed, filtered, ozonated, disinfected, treated, flavored, carbonated, purified or otherwise certified by experts as water “safe” to drink.

I cup my hands and dip the tongue.

How could I not?

This is glacier melt. Desperado water that escaped from Heaven to fall to Earth. Millennia ago. This was the rain that soaked the woolly mammoth, liquor that slaked the saber-toothed tiger’s thirst.
I’m not that fearsome...just that thirsty.

This was rain that froze on barren mountaintops. Rested there awhile. Then ambled off to new adventures. Free-range ice mass roaming. Glacier creeping to reclaim its essence:

Water in cupped hands.

* * *

In Memoriam

Two More Glaciers Gone From Glacier National Park

* * *

9 Comments:

Blogger Wine and Words said...

Those hands....those hands have been through somethin', something more than my soft digits have known...but they wish to.

I climbed Mt. Rainier one summer...new hiker, new pack, new boots. Dumb. Miles of switchbacks in intense heat, blisters bloody on my back and feet. Canteen empty. There was a trickle of water coming off the mountain, nothing more than an ants waterfall, but I dipped my head to it and drank full. Was as nectar, sugar, the best damn water I have ever had. I cared not for it's origin, but loved your telling. A new perspective, the ancient water.

Thu Apr 08, 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kass said...

Free range ice mass roaming. This is just stunning. You have honored this elixir of the ages so well.
I wish more people could read this and care.

Thu Apr 08, 04:22:00 PM  
OpenID foldingfields said...

"I'm not that fearsome...just that thirsty." Great line. Really felt the imagery.

Thu Apr 08, 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I've been to Glacier National Park. It is a gorgeous and awe inspiring place... that Rising to the Sun Highway is amazing! How sad to think that we are witnessing the demise of the glaciers.

But, given that the climate travels in cycles, just like everything else, we are bound to notice things as we've been keeping records for a little while now.

Cold enough to numb your hand in seconds, yet there is nothing more refreshing on the planet... the blue-green ice becomes crystal clear water.

Try fishing in glacier-fed streams up in the Rockies! You feel legless after a short while wading, but you can see every fish and pebble, not matter what the depth.

Thu Apr 08, 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

sigh

Fri Apr 09, 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

Very wonderful poem!

Beautiful photo too.

Fri Apr 09, 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

And even as metaphor, do we have a choice but to drink? We shouldn't. In this rests a truth.

xo
erin

Fri Apr 09, 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

You elicited a smile and a memory, Ms. WaW. In my youth, my impetuous youth, I decided to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back to the (North) rim again. The hike to the bottom? Lotsa fun. The hike to the top?

I thought I was gonna die.

Might make for a blog post someday. (The memory still cracks me up...ah, the hubris of youth!).

Thank you, Kass. Should I ever have occasion to sip of glacial streams again, I'll intone a prayer/blessing to you.

Why thank you, Ms. foldingfields! Ever' now and then, I stumble upon a few good words.

Ah, yes, Ms. Ponita. I was lost in a reverie 'bout Glacier. I remember being parked on that very same road, in July, as plows cleared the road of thirty-foot drifts. But that was decades ago. Glacier don't look anywhere like the way it once did...when I was young...and glaciers roamed free.

And, yes, I was STUNNED when I first peered through the water of an alpine lake. This grimy, city urchin had never before spied purity such as that.

This vagabond soul has also dipped his toes in the tannin brown waters of the Loosiana bayoos...lost hisself in the tangles of cypress trees...

Each experience left me breathless.

I'm sighing with you, Queen Cheese.

Thank you, June. But, truth be told, I wasn't trying to craft a poem. I gave up on that pursuit a long, LONG time ago. I was simply trying to express myself as best I could with the few tools I have.

And those hands? Yes. They're quintessentially human, no?

Do we have a choice, Erin? I believe we do. Some drink their fill. Some abstain. The Fates remain bemused/amused.

Fri Apr 09, 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

You make the glacial water sound like ambrosia. The water of the ages. Melted away. So sad.

Sun Apr 11, 06:15:00 AM  

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