Tangerine moons

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A secret kingdom surrounded by windswept prairie, feedlots, and box store towns

Waterton Lakes National Park

It’s March; the snow turns to rain on the mountains — argillite shaped by snow, glaciers, and running water

Mountains riveted to spikes and hollows that make me think of old men’s bony noses.

On the park’s edge I hike halfway up Sofa Mountain, happy to sit and draw, to ask questions like, “Where does all that water go?”

and

“What will this summer be like if the river levels are already this low? More forest fires?”

Even under last August’s sickly sky and red sun,

As millions of acres of forest burned across neighboring Montana, British Columbia, and Washington — 

Roots of trees exposed like witches’ fingers

Branches dense with lichen

Tangerine moons and silver water

Pines bent to stone like cemeteries of fractured bones —

The park was magic.

It still is.

I want to know it, to rub up against it.

Image: Trevor Bexon

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