When we crested the ridge, shirts stuck to sweaty backs, blood pushing through veins, lungs swollen then empty, I caught my first glimpse

and I gasped and laughed. hours of uphill effort disintegrated

my hungry eyes grabbed the mountain scape, ate the view, fed my soul.

There were pyramid shapes

in any direction

snow basins, pregnant snow bowls

crusty ridgelines, seams

dividing one peak

from the next,

velvet snow fields

speckled by evergreen tips

All small in our eyes

but we were the smallest

tiny, our presence an instant, a fraction

And the mountains’ presence

monumental

the reason, in fact, we lived that day.

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