By John Brantingham
SUNSET COMES LATE in High Sierra Summers, and by the time it does, I’m usually done for the day. I like to get into my camp chair at about eight, right during golden hour, that time of day when the light filters low through the atmosphere and yellows the mountain side and trees. I usually have the fire lit by this time, so I can’t move from my spot. I might chat with Annie or cook, but I am focused on the changing world. First it is the birds who dip through the forest looking for mosquitos. As the light fades, the bats come out, and I always loll my head back to watch them flitting above me. I can’t hear a lot of high pitched sounds, but for some reason, I can hear them calling out. By nine, the light is gone and it’s time to pick out satellites flying by. It’s an hour at least focused on the changing nature of light, which somehow remains forever a fascination, and I don’t think about my anxieties or problems. I don’t think about the past or the future. There is only now.
John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines, Writers Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. His nineteen books of poetry and fiction including his latest, Life: Orange to Pear. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College.