trifling little hike alone and unequipped
Before the sun sets and the cold implodes,
An upward dash on densely wooded slope precipitous,
Returning by the ill-marked forest trail that badly bodes,
Oh, woe! The downward path soon all but vanished
Like a route long since abandoned,
Narrowed down and clogged with leaves,
As if defended by arrays of fallen pines in weaves
As barriers repelling all uncouth intruders---no reprieves.
Light diminished fast and furious
To render progress most precarious.
Too late to backtrack steps,
Too dark to dodge each low-hung limb,
Too worrysome for wordy prayer or uplift hymn,
Too isolated for a rescue shout,
Too steep a slope to rest or sleep
As shoes slipped on the slope so steep,
Too cold to spend the night,
Too black to see the future or the valley from this height,
This lonely night of growing fright.
Animals that roam the night wear frost-repellent fur
Once sought by princely courts.
Theyre set to mock the wayward wayfarer
Who foolishly wore only shorts.
Yet colder now the blanket being drawn of fear and apprehension,
Coupled with the memory of skeletons with ghoulish smiles
They found in mountains distant miles
Concluding weeks of searching for some roaming wretch
Who lost his way and froze, just like his smile, firm etched.
The focus is the task impending,
Keep the traverse line descending,
Then to hope for miracles rejoining well-worn paths and logs
Toward towns and laughing girls and barking dogs
And pavement and some high-watt lights of reassurance
If the wobbly legs sustain endurance.
But for now, the outlooks grim,
Without a compass, phone or whistle
That might summon God-sent rescue and salvation
Just in time, when hopes wane dim.
In desperation I affix this message to the largest tree.
Youve found it! Launch a search in haste and rescue me
Before Noel, 2003!
somewhere on Mt. Tamalpais (Calif.)