Night in the Gila

At the end of the dayís hunt

The last glow of sunset fades from the sky

I gather my gear and shoulder my pack

For the long trek in the dark back to camp


Gravel and pine needles

Crunch beneath my boots

One step at a time into the night

My light and the stars showing the way


The breath of wind in the pines fades to still

Its cold here up high as the mercury falls

Something different about this walk

Tickles in the back of my mind


Long walks in the dark are nothing new to me

A natural part of the fall ritual of the hunt

But most of my treks have been far to the south

Where even in winter mice chirp, crickets sing


So I stop

I listen

Turn off my light

Soak it all in


And unlike previous walks, I find something new

Itís the smallest of things, precious nonetheless

As any new experience is

For Iíve found in the stillness of night


That all is silent in the winter on this mountain