We started upward · under coverof liveoak trees · and little fliesthat sipped our sweat · as we swore and slappedwhile trying not to · trip on rocks.
Leaving the trees · on a ledge of granite,a sloping joint · between giant blocks,we stopped for a view · of the valley below;followed the ledge · as it led us eastward;climbed steep sand · to a second stopwhere a slope had shrugged · and slid from the trail.
Passing the pool · of pounding waterwhere the upper falls · eats at the jointand brims in a bowl · of broken stone,we climbed in earnest · on the clean slabsthat lay to the left, leading higher,away from the roar · of the raining water,into silence, into light.
Bending west, then bending east,the stairs piled stone · on stone before usbrought back to mind · when merrilyat three years old · upon my back,you rode and babbled, bounced and laughed,leaning left, lunging right,reaching out · for rock or flower,bird or bush · or butterfly.
On the same steps · standing separatenow you followed, now you led.The light went on; we laughed and followedit on rungs · of rock ascending.