Morning, River Camp
(Desolations and Gray Canyons, Green River)
It is early yet—the hour of the gray dawn.
All night we have slept on the smooth thigh of the sand.
Our first waking breath is of air scrubbed
clean by sage and sun, tamarisks and swift water.
Just upstream, the rapids
are still scouring the silence. The river
continues its long, gathering slide.
In the gray dawn the river is dull
as are the canyon walls, while the high gap
of sky floods with luminous blue.
A bird proclaims itself; and then another.
Rising sunlight slants slowly down cliffs
of ancient lakebed sediment, kindling colors on its way—
tawny rock with horizontal bands of reddish brown,
then talus slopes verdigris with sagebrush,
tufted with juniper green. The river’s ripples
play with light now, pushing polished patches
of blue sky, roan cliff, and green-leafed cottonwood.
What a good thing it is to wake every day,
and how soon our minds are ordinarily clouded.
Here, like brother canyon wren and sister whipsnake,
we always awaken to the first day. This earth
opens the shutters of our inner house
so the one who is always present
can flow through us into the world.
Chris Hoffman is a poet and ecopsychologist living and working in Boulder, CO. His book, Realization Point, was published by Poetic Matrix Press in 2011.