Hang on tight when the Captain says so!
Look out for each other!
Respect the critters!
Love the River!
Don’t lose your sewing kit!
COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE!
Day begins on the river with birdsong,
resurgent willows, cliffs and shadows,
surging sun poking through a notch
in a butte face, Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!
french toast and bacon.
Down come the overnight habitats,
ingeniously rigged and shaped to embrace
the sleepers dotted about this beach
washed a grain at a time from the West Elks,
Eagle Nest-Gore, the Never Summers
and countless unnamed washes and arroyos
contributing redrock sediment of ocean eons.
We are off and away, a striped cucumber-
looking bug alights on my left arm, climbing
towards my elbow feeling his way through
the filament forest of my limb, I flick him
in the direction of the tamarisk grove
he and his fellow beetles are defoliating
in favor of the resurgent willow sharp tooth
beavers cut their lodges out of, see
their dragging chutes plowing down
the sandy banks.
A Cooper’s Hawk on river right watches
us navigate the shallows. Noon’s a hike
to granaries of the gone Ancient Ones
who’ve left hands imprinted on a cliff
face wall, a boy and his mother or
father and daughter waving welcome
Feathery hands bridging a thousand
years of river flow (thundering at times)
that languidly turns another today as
in the river we drift this hot afternoon
tucked in life preservers bobbing past
a row of shoreline judges rating our
Guides David, Julian, L.B., T.J. and
Christian make it possible for us
to be here, no plug ins,
just the current of the Colorado
bearing us on.
(With Holiday Expeditions, Moab through
Cataract Canyon to Hite, June 23-27, 2012)