by W Roger Carlisle
Nature, sky, wind are calling to me. It’s late summer, almost fall. I am in a new world I don’t want to leave. I sit on my horse with my eyes closed, breathing a new kind of cool dry air that stimulates body and soul. We are riding along the Beartooth Plateau, the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet high in the US, an area of Montana which is prime black bear, cougar, rattle snake, deer, elk, grizzly bear, lynx, moose, wolf, and wolverine habitat. It is one of the few places in North America where grizzly bears still extend onto the prairie. The horses smell a bear; they are spooked and ready to bolt. Our pack of riders are rustlers, marauders, invaders, small grains of dust blowing in the vastness of the prairie. Sure enough, a bear has shadowed us all day, trying to protect her cubs; we have seen the cubs several times moving at a fast speed. I’m thinking ”God, drag me out of my safe little life, change me totally, whatever it takes, I am yours.” I’m the kind of person who gets lost in my watching; I feel myself floating onto a piece of heaven, an expansion of the horizon. Farther up the Stillwater River, I slip my feet from my shoes, walk in the cold stream, I ignore the coldness of the freezing water mesmerized by summer sun glittering off gurgling waves. No matter how high we go the sky gets bigger. All day, everywhere, I feel a presence near at hand. There’s too much to see, understand, enjoy, experience, up where the thin air and light lift your soul.
W Roger Carlisle is a 75-year-old, semi-retired physician. He currently volunteers and works in a free medical clinic for patients living in poverty. He grew up in Oklahoma and was a history major in college. He has been writing poetry for 11 years. He is currently on a journey of returning home to better understand himself through poetry. He hopes he is becoming more humble in the process.