In the half light from this lumbering train,
geese are returning – this is their country.
Sky clears as marshes of winter runoff come
to expected life along these silent rails.
Green turns violently to white, those rough
spires angling up toward heaven, snow clouds
blowing along their edges, casting veils across
white beds of ice, blue in sun, but gray now
as the cup of weather spills its late winter fate.
This is my train, cliff water tumbling – the Rockies.
This is my country. The trees: Black Spruce, Birch,
Fir and Tamarack. The creatures: Bufflehead Duck,
Moose and Mountain Goat. Let me run from this train,
through this valley and disappear into the ether,
into the blue light of meadows, the crowded trees.
Take this weight, lift it from my shoulders. People
my days with Hoary Marmot, Clark’s Nutcracker and
The Great Wapiti. Let this train remind me of fishing
the Missouri headwaters, the steeple-shadowed
Bow River, the Big Hole in August’s white blaze,
my father during a full cast, blind to details, but hitting
his mark just the same. The simple grace with which
he accepts the purest luck and love of what he calls,
“my country,” its vital, stubborn, shake of life.