|Sunrise on Mt. Shasta (Wikipedia commons)|
Shasta in Stanzas
When he returned from the summit, she curled up next to his frostbitten toe. He said the wilderness teaches you about your own resilience.
She watched her firefighter-river-guide-mountaineer unpack his coiled ropes and carabiners. I’m a man of commitment, honesty and love, he announced.
Later he would light the wood stove and make stir-fry while she wept.
He would putter around his yard. This is where the fishpond will go, he said, pointing next to the Magnolia he’d planted for her.
They walked along the bluff and watched the sun change shape. They did not touch in the almost darkness. She listened to him discuss the weather while she beseeched the stars.
Then one day he fell in love with someone else.
She saw the evidence everywhere: the barrettes on the bathroom counter, the little bike out front. A mosaic steppingstone of the mountain lay not far from the Magnolia tree.
We even share the same dreams, he told her, forgetting that it wasn’t the first time.
She consoled herself with pots of soup and hovered by the heater over a long winter. In spring she drove to the snow-covered crag as flocks of red-winged blackbirds flew from the dawn.
At dusk the snowy peaks glowed purple. Her tent was a silhouette, wrapped in the shadow of twilight.
Heavy winds blew down as she fell into dreams. That was God’s breath clearing everything out, someone said in the morning.
Outside, a sliver of moon still hung in the sky.