Polychrome Outlook, Denali National Park and Preserve
The bus driver points out the cottage-sized boulder stranded
miles off and thousands of feet below in the alluvial plane
between the winding rivers melting from two glaciers.
Sometimes glaciers break off huge chunks from mountains,
he says, and when they recede, they drop them in the middle
of nowhere. All alone out there, they're called erratics.
He needed this trip to breathe air into the doldrums
of his divorce. All this wild openness. All this emptiness
—the occasional ptarmigan, moose, grizzly or caribou.
A red fox trots next to the bus, a snowshoe hare dangling
from its mouth. The bus driver stops so they can watch
the bitch carry dinner to kits bouncing around the den.
It just reminds him of what he wanted, of the glacial
chill that had descended upon their marriage, deserting
him in a tundra of oneness. What, he wonders,
had precipitated her hiss that she had had enough,
that she was leaving? And days later the mountain
of legal documents dropped at his door like an erratic.