Mountain winter defies the order,
Denies the bonding of elements.
The wooded snow and the falling wind
Force the repentance of birdsong.
Unbroken sun razes gooseflesh,
Floods snow, and drowns the senses,
Pitched in broken bottle rainbow battle
With trenchant ice-cold mountain streams.
—Uche Ogbuji—from "Mountain Summer"
Yesterday I happened to be going through some of my verse, and I noticed the date on which I wrote "Mountain Summer": 11 June 1995. A decade ago to the day, today. Remarkable coincidence. I wrote it on a road trip with best friend Arild (who just became the father of twins Thursday), as well as Rachel and Dagmara. A Nigerian, two Norwegians and a Pole: two guys, two gals, driving across the West. It was one of those magical trips that serve so many of us as a marker of our twenties. We were lolling about at Yosemite National Park, where, even though it was the heart of Summer, we sought and found a few snowy peaks (we'd already found a touch of Summer Zero by hiking up to St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado earlier on that trip). While up there we saw a mother and child riding a saucer in the snow, and I was moved to write.
This poem and two others written at about the same time were published in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, a respected but now defunct lit mag, in early 1996.
In another neat bit of coincidence, for me, today was also a long- planned white-water rafting trip with a lot of my more recent friends. I certainly got to sample a good deal of the "trenchant ice-cold mountain streams". In fact, I got soaked in it. It was a glorious adventure, and it further reminded me of that other glorious adventure a decade ago, and the writing to which I was inspired back then.