the thing about mountains

The thing about mountains
Is their wild otherness.
Up here, the sky is black
And we see stars in September
There is a burst of yellows,
Orange tucked inside aspens.
The weather shifts like the second
Hand on a small, tin clock.
In the middle of the summer
The cold turns our cheeks red,
We throw snowballs, wear gloves.

Pockets of snow that look painted
Dirt trail to rocky sidesteps with pole
Thin air, icy air, surrounded by
Thick rock, jagged rock, held together
By chemical bonds, pressed up over
Millions of years, squeezed together
Like a piece of machinery.
Creating own weather systems,
Painted rock their green.

I've seen you in rock, too,
Our once-love crystallized
In earth's crust, igneous meaning
Of fire and the hot heavens.
Maybe the mountain is my God
Maybe wilderness is spirit
Is what I marry, is what I love
And returns, the thing,
Is they have already decided
What to do, to show up
To move, crumple, and dive.
To love with a brief endlessness
Earth rising, you returning home.