My friend, Annie, is a rock hound. Not the my-dad-bought-me-a rock-kit-when-I-was-eight kind of person, but a genuine hard piece of the earth fanatic. Her den looks like a mining expedition took over that part of the house. Annie’s unwavering enthusiasm finally persuaded me to abandon my usual Saturday slothful ways and join her on a hike through the juniper-piñon canyon of Rio de las Trampas. After a fifteen minute clamber, passing what I hoped was not bear or mountain lion droppings, we came upon an unexpected sight. A Noel Langley landscape. We found ourselves at the bottom of a boulder-lined bowl created by retreating glaciers. Thousands of rocks were stock-still, frozen in mid-tumble down the hill. The sight made me feel small and vulnerable. I was hesitant to move lest I remind gravity of its job. Annie picked up a piece of stone and rubbed it in her hand. It sparkled like an Oz slipper. The shadow of something large flew overhead as Annie and I collected samples of milky quartz, granite, gneiss, shale and pyrite. We picnicked near the curious formations, and let the sweet air and sun work its magic on our tired brains. Yellow yarrow lined the way to a spiraling waterfall roaring down the ravine. When it was time to head back home, I didn’t want to go. On the steps of my apartment, I pulled out the stone Annie had pressed into my hand as a keepsake of our adventure. It was broken off from what it once was and heavy with the weight of wear, much like Dorothy on her return to Kansas.
Lori Romero is winner of the Spire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition for The Emptiness That Makes Other Things Possible. Her first chapbook, Wall to Wall, is published by Finishing Line Press. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.