redux: postcard from Waterton Lakes

Note: two years ago we were wandering through southern Alberta and B.C., ambling home after a week in Edmonton. I dream of the soft green still, the scent of poplars.


Plains bison with calves, black bears with cubs, a herd of bighorn sheep, a single mountain goat on the Cameron Lake road, bluebirds, two cranes flying above the meadows, deer, the sound of water, the snowy peaks, scent of poplar, mayflies over Emerald Bay, magpies in every tree, sticky geranium, larkspur, arrow-leaf balsam root, low soft blue lupines (I didn’t bring a plant book so can’t be specific), fescues and death camas and glacier lilies at Red Rock Canyon. Dear ones, how I wish you were here.

mum and child

moosehorned cedars circled his swamps and tossed
their antlers up to the stars
then he knew though the mountain slept the winds
were shaping its peak to an arrowhead

And now he could only
bar himself in and wait
for the great flint to come singing into his heart

—from “Bushed” by Earle Birney

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