Saturday, July 13, 2019

Poetry: Roughing It

Roughing It

I remember cold backpack mornings in Augusts
in the Adirondacks in the late 1960s, hanging-in
our sleeping bags long after waking from sleep
on our tarps only to watch for the longest time
while sunlight clambered down from tree tops
to give us the warming inspiration to crawl out
our snug sleeping bags and launch the new day.

Once with my late sister Karen in an open-front
lean-to shelter along Diamond Mountain Brook,
where a side trail leads to the Siamese Ponds,
the weather had been so warm that we took
our summer bags, only to find the lean-to floor
bare of the expected insulating balsam boughs.
Just barely past midnight we both awoke

bone-cold, deciding to sit up in our bags, our
feet propped on our backpacks, keeping them
off the cold lean-to floor. It reminded me how
Karen and I once rode eastward from college,
home for our Christmas break in the back seat
of a classmate’s car whose heater didn’t work.
At five degrees, we wore our gloves on our feet,
while we sat on our hands to keep them warm.

Related Stories


Ed Zahniser retired as the senior writer and editor with the National Park Service Publications Group in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He writes and lectures frequently about wilderness, wildlands, and conservation history topics. He is the youngest child of Alice (1918-2014) and Howard Zahniser (1906–1964). Ed’s father was the principal author and chief lobbyist for the National Wilderness Preservation System Act of 1964. Ed edited his father’s Adirondack writings in Where Wilderness Preservation Began: Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser, and also edited Daisy Mavis Dalaba Allen’s Ranger Bowback: An Adirondack farmer - a memoir of Hillmount Farms (Bakers Mills).


Tags:


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *