Some time when the river is ice

Some time when the river is ice

Originally uploaded by miss_distance

My planned trip to the South Unit had to be postponed this morning due to a dense ice-fog. I checked out a big stack of books from the park’s library, and drove through the white fog to check out the White River just southeast of Interior. It was breaking up, and gurgling, with creaking chunks of ice, and red twig willows along the foggy shore. Hauntingly bleak and lovely. Put me in mind of my favorite poem by William Stafford, Ask Me:


Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

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