Craig Wisner

Object Permanence.

What if I told you

you had to touch it

to make it real?

Trace a finger across

stone

lichen

moss

or lower a bare foot into an eddy

nudging a leaf with your toe.

If I told you it was there

could you believe me?

Have you ever felt a cool bed of polished granite?

Can you know what you’ve missed?

I don’t believe myself sometimes,

second-guessing hazy memories

of alpenglow in the peaks

and sheet after sheet of waves

whipped by gusts across a lake.

Compelled to return, time and time again

to inspect the flow of creeks

and the decay of boulders

-to confirm that it is all as I have left it

that it is all still real.

When recalling the cold indifference

of midnight air

stinging the lungs

-I can see it, feel it so clearly in my mind

and yet I’m shocked upon return.

Recollection is untrustworthy.

I have come to trust rain,

the loneliness of stars.

Abandon the idolatry of memory.

Press your feet into the soil and trust their weight.

Trust the mule deer

slowly edging a hillside

-stopping, nostrils flared and ears erect

winding me, locking eyes

grounding me

a nonhuman witness confirming the present:

I have arrived.

(Images and prose from a 4 night/5 day solo hike in the Upper Kern Basin just before the summer fires of 2020).

2 responses

  1. Tom Kirchner

    Beautifully captured and expressed. After a few times up there, you will carry the reality with you for the rest of your life, as you are in the process of discovering. When you’ve been doing it for 48 seasons, it will likely be the last reality you experience before you step into the void.

    January 10, 2021 at 2:08 pm

  2. Mike Moore

    Beautiful pics, beautiful words!

    January 10, 2021 at 3:04 pm

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