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poem: tiny blue flowers

two-inch deep moss,
a 2000 foot drop, and
tiny blue flowers

Out hiking the other day in the Columbia River Gorge, at one point the steep trail led up an exposed rocky face in a series of switchbacks. Before then, the trail had been going through the forest, but now it was clear just how high above the valley floor we really were, and my acrophobia would hit me in the face at each switchback. Now as it happens, on hikes I’m usually very interested in looking closely at what’s around me anyway, but suddenly it became very important for me to focus on the feel of the deep moss on the shaded side of the rocks, dry and slightly crunchy outside yet slightly damp inside and soft like a thick thick carpet, and on the quite interesting particular shade of intense blue of some tiny flowers on the rocks’ sunny sides.

Eventually we reached the summit and its spectacular views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, but I think my memory of the feel of the moss and the color of the flowers will outlast that of the distant peaks.

Returning, we took the much longer, much less steep trail down the side of the slope. :-)


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