I stopped on the rim,
mid-afternoon. In defiance
of authority I walked down
and then back up the same
day. Less than halfway down
my knees began complaining.
So steep. I went on anyway.
I trust my body. My partner
didn´t come—too many tourists,
too much mule poop for his taste—
though he would have come
as a special favor to me. Thanks
anyway. I rather
came alone. The cold first morning
light was glorious, gilding the rock
with mystery and wild anticipation.
Late morning the river was tranquil,
steady like a triumph by the tiny beach
where I ate nuts and jerky for salt.
I brought too much water. I had been
that scared. I took it all back. Uphill
was easier than down. The redbuds
were magnificent. A young man, brown
skin, dark golden eyes, kept pace.
Sometimes he was ahead, then I passed,
and so on. Near the top he said,
"we´re nearly there." I smiled. He got
there first. Then I stood at the rim
too with tears in my eyes. A dream
completed. Alone. In good health.
Before I am too old. And now
what will I do next with my one
precious life? I looked until my soul
was satisfied. I said goodbye
to the canyon, I waved to the man,
and turned to walk to the unknown.