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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017
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Marcyn Del Clements
Claremont, California, USA


Ice House Canyon

for RFC 1938-2011

I scramble up canyon to Rattlesnake Seep, fill two liters, take a sitz bath on a warm rock. This is my secret camp. It’s secluded here. House-sized boulders and bushy ceonothus hide me. Hikers along the trail to the Saddle cannot see me or my bivy bag.

Make tea, try to draw the mystery fern. You always encouraged my efforts, but I was never patient enough for botanical sketching.

I remember the first night of our first backpack. Mid-20’s. My Mom-in-law had taken our two baby girls for those couple of weeks. When the dehydrated pork chop wouldn’t rehydrate, you flung it like a Frisbee off the edge of the cliff.

And now the afternoon slows. The seep trickles quietly down granite slabs—still icy cold—coming from inside the mountain.

Gnats and flies sing to my sweaty skin. Bluebirds chirrup. They sneak in for a bath and a drink. I watch a chickadee spray water from his back all over the moss. A Sister butterfly flops, orange-spotted, lazily through this maple-laced glade.

Sunshadows filter through leaves of a giant cedar. We never hiked up here together, but you would have loved it.

Last night, meteors traced their north/south path across the sky and the gibbous crescent moon slid, belly first, across the ridge. You always liked that word, gibbous. Crossword puzzles, your morning ritual.

Time to start supper. Band-tails wop-who up canyon, settling into the pines for the night. A red-breasted nuthatch comes yank-yank-yank into camp. You, my auto-didact, my husband of 50 years, taught me so much.

Ichiban soup
I lift a tangle
of soft noodles

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