Perhaps because “For All” remains a favorite of mine by Gary Snyder, I tend to associate his work with autumn (Ah to be alive/on a mid-September morn/fording a stream…). Although upon further consideration, this affinity doesn’t make total sense, because when I was lucky enough to meet him and hear him read in Yosemite, it was winter. But winter in Yosemite Valley is sort of like autumn in the rest of the world as the landscape is usually brown and yellow and the temperatures above freezing. Except for last year with above-average snow covering the Valley in an unusual white blanket. Hmm..
So perhaps I don’t have a very good reason to find myself reciting “I pledge allegiance to the soil/of Turtle Island/and to the beings who thereon dwell/one ecosystem/in diversity/under the sun/With joyful interpretation for all” and his other verses more frequently once the leaves change color, but the music of one of my “hero” poets is welcome any time of year.
In celebration of the impending autumn—a sublime season in Yosemite—and in honor of a poet a cherish (any season of the year) below are photos of some of my favorite fall hikes coupled with the words of Snyder, which seem to echo from the earth.
“Range after range of mountainsYear after year after yearI am still in love.”
“Above, back there, the snowfieldsRocked between granite ribsTurn spongy in the summer sun.”
To climb these coming crestsOne word to you, toYou and your children:Stay togetherlearn the flowersgo light
“empty skymolding to fit the shape of what the ice left”
“Sierra Nevadacould lift the heart so highfault block uplift”
“Buttresses cracked,Sheared, leaning,Friction only, ready to fall,All of the high ridgeAn assembly of accidentsDefying a few more minutes”
“--the wideness, thefoolish loving spacesfull of heart.”
“Mist rising—streams falling—snow melting—rocks weatheringus descending.Clark’s Nutcracker holleringA day to be alive and wandering through.”