salt in our pores,
who knew we would find ourselves
in a place with echoes of home for Christmas.
Plateau above the clouds,
island out of the cactus,
the stoutest pines we’ve seen since Montana—
Sugar pine, Jeffrey’s pine,
wraith-like crowns of pinus contorta.
Snow graces north slopes.
and refreshingly thin.
From one crest,
we see two seas.
On one slope,
we pass from manzanita scrub
to aspen meadow.
There’s a white observatory at the end of the road.
One of the darkest places around;
they peer into other universes from here.
At dusk there’s a visitor:
Mottled red, grey, and brown;
Bold, even brazen.
Where do you wander today?
We always have a tree for Christmas.
We saw off the top of a crowded spruce,
pinch it between granite stones,
and decorate with ornaments:
pinecone seeds and waxy white shells strung with floss,
hollow hulls draped on wax thread,
tiny lights ringing tree and van.
these are our mood setters.
Christmas we agree,
is about giving,
today, tomorrow too,
we give to the only person around.