Thursday, January 9, 2014

On the way to Yosemite, November

We arrive in El Portal, 
just outside of Yosemite, 
after driving on highway 140 
through squares of apple orchards, 
small vineyards, 
a few pumpkin patches, 
wide flush meadows of gold 
until that unbending, solid highway 
finally curves up into the Sierras, 
into its shadows of ash and black 
that droop across the road 
and across trees of blood orange 
and lemon (but many holding on fiercely 
to their green),
some bringing to mind the lace 
my mother sewed on dresses, 
and others call up flocks 
of yellow butterflies,
as the road ribbons higher into the hills, 
narrowing and curving, sometimes 
very sharply, unstoppable as the Merced river, 
dry in places, its smooth bowels 
exposed and assailable, 
and in other places the water depthless,
and in others gurgling, until finally 
the sun slumps behind the ridges
and the Yosemite View Lodge shines 
before us like a galaxy.