The High Desert

The cougar is up high in a yellow pine, hidden. I only see his misplaced paw print, formed when the mud was thick last spring. Now, the trail has dried into cracks, wrinkles in the earth, his movement of the past solidified. He won’t worry about me, the noisy one, whose feet crunch dry leaves below him, dried long before the last of summer appears.

The turf is so dry, it feels like ancient bread, hollow, a fragile dust. This dryness used to be spring flowers, but they’re not the reason I’m here. Their flakes, stick to my socks, scratch my ankles.

The grass copies the color of the sunset. No matter how good of a watcher you are, you can’t see the grass’s movement search for the sun. I didn’t come to search, but I ended up searching.

Breaking their way out of the sky, Adams, Hood, St. Helens, listening, still. This isn’t what I thought I’d find, yet I’ve found them. Sometimes I worry about the movement of the sun, which is my movement, really, the earth’s movement.

The cougar will come down from the yellow pine at dusk, when it’s hard to see him. He is the color of the sunset. He will use the sound of dry flowers and shallow grasses. When the coming night quiets the wind, he will search for the slightest movements.


(Click on mage to enlarge. Title: River Of Grass. Photo taken near The Dalles Oregon)

20 Comments on “The High Desert

  1. Noting one of the other comments, anyone in their right mind would be wary of a cougar. Although they normally will not attack humans, one that was sick or injured might be tempted by an easy meal. That aside, I enjoyed the descriptions and the good writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The way the descriptions of mud evoke the passage of time is haunting.


  3. No, I’m out in the deep forest all the time by myself. Caution, awareness, is one thing you learn when you’re by yourself in a wild environment. Perhaps, that could apply to other things???

    Liked by 1 person

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