Above Pate Valley by Gary Snyder

We finished clearing the last

Section of trail by noon,

High on the ridge-side

Two thousand feet above the creek.

Reached the pass, went on

Beyond the white pine groves,

Granite shoulders, to a small

Green meadow watered by the snow,

Edged with Aspen-sun

Straight high and blazing

But the air was cool.

Ate a cold fried trout in the

Trembling shadows.  I spied

A glitter, and found a flake

Black volcanic glass- obsidian-

By a flower.  Hands and knees

Pushing the Bear grass, thousands

Of arrowhead leavings over a

Hundred yards.  Not one good

Head, just razor-flakes.

On a hill snowed all but summer,

A land of fat summer deer,

They came to camp. On their

Own trails.  I followed my own

Trail here.  Picked up the cold-drill,

Pick, singlejack, and sack

Of dynamite.

Ten thousand years.

-Gary Snyder

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