We’re in the midst of our 11 day trek through Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to get photos off my camera until I get back to Seattle, and can’t organize my thoughts well enough yet for a proper blog post. So in lieu of cool photos or interesting stories, here’s a poem I wrote by flashlight at 1 am last night, in a wind-buffeted tent in the backcountry of Glacier National Park.
It’s pulled straight from events and sights on our backcountry trek. It’s also the first poem of any length that I’ve written in years. The muse strikes in weird ways sometimes.
My thumbs got a workout typing this up on my phone. Forgive any typos- I’ll go back and fix them later, and pretend they never existed.
Update: Now that I’m back in Seattle, I did add some cool photos.
Some see the kingdom of Faerie
In the mountains and vales of Scotland,
Others in the forests and glades of Eire,
Or the dark and brooding
Woods of Eastern Europe,
The lands from which the gypsies hail.
But to me, the greatest Faerie Queen of all
Lives in the wilds of Northern Montana.
She is not a gentle mistress.
Her arms do not offer
Titania’s warm embrace.
She is perhaps a relative of Mab,
Agent of Winter,
And her beauty is ferocious and cold.
You can see it in the ragged rocky peaks
Thrust toward the sky like
Turrets of the greatest castle
In the world,
In clear green lakes
All but glowing with magic,
Their pristine, icy waters encased in
Shrines of pine trees
And protected by rock walls
Soaring half a mile high all around.
If you dare to climb her mountains
You can feel her anger
In the gusts of wind that tear at you
With hurricane force,
As if to throw you off the high passes
And back from whence you came.
But the chance to see her domain
From on high, to see the cliffsides
Thousands of feet sheer
Surrounding the forests below,
The glaciers that shroud the slopes
In blankets of white,
And to see it all from the level
Of her eyes,
It is a sight worth incurring
The wrath of a Faerie Queen.
Yet she is not entirely
A Mistress of Winter.
For if you travel the lush forests
And alpine meadows,
You can see her beauty in the
Yellow and purple flowers
That line the trail,
Taste her essence in wild huckleberries.
Bears, elk, and mountain goats
Are her agents and her friends,
And if you sit on a log
And talk for a time with a chipmunk,
Perhaps he will tell you of her secrets.
But beware, if you set your tent
In her lands on a cold autumn night,
You can hear her roar,
Her and her army of Night Chills,
Roaring overhead with the force of a gale,
Roaring at the interlopers who have
Dared disturb her domain.
You can hear her coming,
Hear her getting closer,
Then she slams into your tent
As if throwing herself bodily against it.
Be assured she is not happy
To have you here.
Yet her ferocity and her wild nature
Only add to her beauty and allure.
Keep your pixies and your changelings,
Your sprites and woodland elves,
My heart belongs
To the Faerie Queen
of North Montana.