Jacob's Ladder (Polemonia spp.)

Jacob's Ladder (Polemonia spp.) (VI.30.2009). Jocob's Ladder is a transition
or ecotone species, at home at the edge of montane and subalpine forest
and meadow. Eagle Cap Wilderness . . .
On the road in the American Northwest.


Humans are the only species born into the world
without a proper place to be, without a place to stand
like a tree, or dig a simple hole like a squirrel, or build
a nest like a robin.

For how many people does this lack of place to be remain
a life-long problem, beyond all hope of resolution? A quarter
of humanity? A third? Or more?

Just as every human being has a self-evident right to
clean air and water, so all have an inalienable right, and
must have access to, enough land—and not one acre more—
to feed and shelter their own family of friends.


Zinc from China,

Cadmium from Japan.

Mercury from Seattle,

Lead from Detroit.

Snow cocktail of the High Wallowas,

spring water mixed with crushed white snow

of the drifts that linger into the heat of July.

Clear. Cool. Refreshing.

I drink to your health, friend.

For better or worse, we're

married to the oneness of the world.


One morning,

you decide to take your children to the opera.

They say it is one of the greatest stories ever told.

Of great rivers.

Of great forests.

Of great snow-covered mountains.

Outside the opera, there are

hundreds, thousands,

waiting to get in.

There is excitement, everywhere,

native to the young heart,

the young mind.

The doors are flung open.

The building seems transparent,

as if it were made entirely of invisible glass.

You enter with your children.

The orchestra is tuning in the distance.

You see a sea of seats, every color of the evening sky,

arranged in a circular array.

"Odd," you think. "What's that?" your daughter asks.

The seats all have identical signs.

A polite young woman in a neat blue uniform

and straight shoulder-length blonde hair

smiles sympathetically, her thin lips not parting,

but somehow showing a trace of empathy, as she walks

towards you and says, "Sorry mam.

The seats are all spoken for."

She adds, "It's always that way. Sold out."

Nobody comes. Ever. But they're always

sold out."

She echoes your own words, "Odd, don't you think?

The orchestra plays. The singers sing,

all the same. They don't seem to mind.

They say it's one of the greatest stories ever told."

Your children begin to cry. You almost do, too.

The crowd is pushing behind you.

"Sorry mam. You'll have to leave now.

The show is about to begin."

Muir (Crater) Lake,
Eagle Cap Wilderness

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2011 picture-poems.com
(created: VII.25.2009)