There is no dread at arriving in this high country,
but a sadness at the diminishment of self.
The unfamiliar landscape is sharp, hard, spare.
I jump across blocks of rock the size of busses to a canyon rim
and, as if to tempt gravity, I lean forward, and lift my palms to the sky.
I release clenched teeth and close my eyes.
Instead of an updraft of air, I feel the void itself,
the actual volume of space below and beyond.
Nerve endings dance in my fingertips and toes.
Blood throbs through my carotids.
There is mass and texture to the space that’s alien to my senses.
It is not of me; it is other.
I rock on my feet, and exhale.
and an anguished soul rests.
The terrible beauty of this world can stop your heart,
it can wrap creature and creator into an embrace,
from which we escape only when we push back.
I step away from the abyss, and breathe again.
The ache returns. Time resumes.
The space between me and the far ground remains unmoved, unmovable.