Hour five Yosemite Great and Small

05 2017 a special place

Great and Small
by Paul Robert Sanford

Green and gray and foamy white and brown and black.
Great pillars of granite,
polished smooth by glaciers and weather
Tall waterfalls pouring into the valley below.
Tall trees sheltering campsites,
Brown bears darker than the dirt we walk on.
Black bears the color of the paved roads.

Millions of people visit each year,
arriving in tour buses or riding buses.

Time was Dad could drive right up to the museum
find a parking place
I would go in and stare at the model of the park
tiny waterfalls and plaster painted gray for cliff faces.
But out in the real park the smog from vehicles built up
So now you park in lot and ride buses around the valley floor.

I remember seeing the grand vistas from many angles,
I also remember seeing tiny living things up close,
plunking rocks in river and streams,
shivering with cold on a hot day
from water just melted off a glacier.

When I could still walk miles without pain
we took off on backpacking trips from
Glacier Point, dropped off by supportive parents.

My family’s life was marked by Yosemite
and Yosemite by the years.
As we grew, more roads were paved,
bear boxes installed,
fooderies built where you could buy hamburgers at the price of sirloin.
The tiny stores replaced by emporiums
with equipment and souvenirs,
small items to linger over.

Dad took his children there,
I took my children there.
Through all these years we knew that version of home
would stand like pledges of eternity
Reminders of the slow pace of nature’s seasons
contrasted with the hurry of us small humans.

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