January, Above the Clouds (I.13.2009) [click photo for next . . . ]
On the road in the American Northwest.
for Gary Johansen
Long after the dust and hubbub
of mechanical motion settle to the ground,
and cars and trucks and snowmachines
are out of fashion
or out of gas,
the humble bootmaker
will still be bent over
stitching together the soles
that allow us to do what
we do best: walk.
Without his art, how would
we climb up into the clear, lighter air,
just below heaven, above the clouds,
where we can see over the top of daily life's rancor?
I may think I climb solo, but no:
good beginnings are more than half the ascent,
and the beginning of each climb
is prepared and secured,
hammered and glued, by the bootmaker's craft.
I celebrate his work, which gives us these
coverings for tender feet in a harsh world
that are made to last.
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
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